Kaizer Chiefs drew 1-1 on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at Thohoyandou Stadium against Black Leopards. Four key tactical issues in Amakhosi dropping points against Dylan Kerr’s team were as follows:
- Middendorp rests five for semi
- Mahlasela and Dax excel in midfield
- Leopards’ menacing right Side
- Amakhosi’s 3-5-2 exposed wide
Middendorp Rests Five for Semi
Ahead of their Nedbank Cup semi-cup final, Ernst Middendorp rested five players (and made seven changes altogether) to protect them for the key clash against Chippa United. Bruce Bvuma was protected with Daniel Akpeyi coming in. The Nigerian is cup-tied for the Chilli Boys clash. Siphosakhe Ntiya-Ntiya and Kgotso Moleko were left out as both are one yellow card from a ban. Hendrick Ekstein and George Maluleka were also rested, showing their high regard in the coach’s eyes.
Mahlasela and Dax Excel In Midfield
Both players have had a frustrating season with limited game-time but both had a strong impact in this game. This was Kabelo Mahlasela’s first start since Middendorp took over and he set up six chances for teammates from his central midfield role. Andriamirado Andrianarimanana netted his first Chiefs goal. His runs from deep in midfield were a real threat to Leopards as he had three shots and won three tackles with his pressing. Dax’s extra energy in midfield is perfect for Middendorp’s pressing game.
Leopards’ Menacing Right Side
The Chiefs coach pointed out Marks Munyai’s fine performance at right back for Leopards. He made five one-versus-one dribbles, delivered five open play crosses and set up two chances. Lefa Hlongwane linked up well with him to overload debutant Reeve Frosler on Chiefs’ left side.
Amakhosi’s 3-5-2 Exposed Wide
In Chiefs’ shape, the wingbacks can be overloaded if the opposition’s fullbacks bomb forward and create two-versus-one situations against the isolated wingback. With Lorenzo Gordinho playing on the left of the back three and not looking comfortable at coming into wide positions, Frosler was constantly facing two men. On the opposite flank, Pentjie Zulu also joined the attack, providing seven open play crosses. Chippa United left back, Tebogo Tlolane may be able to cause problems for Chiefs next week if he gets forward regularly.
Which players from Chiefs and Leopards impressed you? Should any of the lesser-used Amakhosi players earn themselves a start in the Nedbank Cup semi-final next week? Let us know by commenting below.