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Mamelodi Sundowns

Tactics Talk: How Sundowns Thrashed Chiefs

On Saturday afternoon, Mamelodi Sundowns handed Kaizer Chiefs a 3-0 drubbing to lay down a marker for the next season. We look at the five key tactical factors in the victory: 

  • Downs go 4-3-3
  • Chiefs overrun in midfield
  • Narrow front three wreak havoc
  • Chiefs lack width
  • Downs’ depth from bench

Read: Chiefs Suffer, Pirates Drop Points: 15 Images Of DStv Action

Downs Go 4-3-3

One of the key changes for this game was the selection by Mamelodi Sundowns’ coaching trio to change from the side’s usual narrow 4-4-2 shape and go with a 4-3-3 setup for this game. With Gaston Sirino missing, Andile Jali was brought in as an extra midfielder to control the game and he did exactly that as he made a game-high 62 passes and recovered the ball 11 times. The extra body in there also gave freedom for Hlompho Kekana to either get forward or get into deep positions to hit killer passes.

Chiefs Overrun In Midfield

Gavin Hunt recalled Willard Katsande and Lebogang Manyama in midfield for this game after they missed the MTN8 quarterfinal last week through suspension. The experienced pair looked rusty and off the pace against Downs’ dominant trio. Katsande completed just 12 passes in his 45 minutes of action, committing three fouls and being taken off at the break. Manyama also struggled to influence the match and completed just 60% of his passes before substituted.

Read: Why Chiefs Are Playing Catch-Up To Rivals

Narrow Front Three Wreak Havoc

Sundowns’ 4-3-3 shape did not include wingers, but instead two very mobile strikers in Peter Shalulile and Kermit Erasmus with Themba Zwane tucked in behind. This made the shape resemble a diamond midfield at times with the striking duo constantly causing problems. Chiefs saw themselves exposed behind their fullbacks and also with balls over the top. All of the Sundowns front three were on target and Zwane’s positioning further over-ran Katsande.

Chiefs Lack Width

A big problem on the day was the lack of genuine width for Chiefs as Bernard Parker and Khama Billiat were used wide. The latter was undoubtedly Amakhosi’s biggest threat on the day, but the freedom afforded to him meant no one was stretching Downs in wide areas whilst there was no one to track Thapelo Morena’s forward runs. Only once Happy Mashiane came on as a left winger did Chiefs look more balanced. He delivered three crosses and created two chances.

Read: Breakthrough In Senzo Meyiwa Murder Case 

Downs Depth From Bench

Whilst Sundowns’ team selection and two errors by Itumeleng Khune proved crucial, the depth from the bench also played a part. Sundowns could add energy, quality and experience in all areas whereas Chiefs called on four academy graduates with only a handful of games to their name.

Will Gavin Hunt get Chiefs to challenge for the title this season? Let us know by commenting below!


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