Orlando Pirates flexed their tactical superiority as they ran out 3-1 victors against Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto Derby, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
Milutin Sredojevic made three changes to his team who claimed a 4-2 victory against Chippa United in their previous encounter, with goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane, Xola Mlambo and Gladwin Shitolo replacing Jackson Mabokgwane, Marshall Munetsi and Luvuyo Memela respectively.
Steve Komphela made one change to his team that drew 0-0 against Bloemfontein Celtic with Wiseman Meyiwa partnering Willard Katsande in the midfield as opposed to George Maluleka.
Chiefs dominated proceedings in the first half, which was aided by Pirates’ tactic of absorbing Chiefs’ pressure and playing on the counterattack – a tactic traditionally adopted by the Glamour Boys against Pirates.
Man of the Match Musa Nyatama along with Mlambo were able to thrive in the midfield battle, knocking off possession from opposite numbers Siphiwe Tshabalala and Meyiwa before releasing the likes of Thembinkosi Lorch and Bernard Morrison.
Game of two halves:
The introduction of Memela certainly gave Pirates a different attacking dimension. Or did it?
In the first half, Pirates were quite compact with their wing-backs Siyabonga Dube and Innocent Maela not offering much in the way of attack. In a bid to stretch Chiefs’ three centre-backs, Pirates took off the more central occupying figure of Morrison and replaced him with Memela.
Seconds after coming on, the pacy winger not only restored Pirates’ lead, but changed the entire complexion of the game – later netting his brace to complete the victory.
Perfectly executed plan:
Once Pirates had restored the lead, Chiefs inevitably responded by throwing numbers forward in attack.
Steve Komphela’s men dictated play in the middle of the park, while Pirates looked to utilise the pace of Lorch and Memela on the break.
Fearing his side would succumb to the pressure, Sredojevic brought on Mpho Makola for Lorch to tear up the midfield, which proved to be another tactical masterclass as Chiefs’ attacks from that point on proved null and void.
Indicative of Pirates’ dominance in the Soweto Derby is the fact that despite shading possession stakes, by the 80th minute of the tie, they had six offside calls go against them as opposed to Chiefs having none.
On the basis of football philosophies, one could deduce that Pirates came to the FNB Stadium with a Chiefs-esque tactic in flooding the midfield and playing on the counter.
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