On Saturday, Orlando Pirates made it three league games without a win as they lost 1-0 to Stellenbosch FC. Some of the key tactical factors in the result were as follows:
- Pirates Face Reinforced Defence
- Stellenbosch Exploit Jele Absence
- Barker’s Changes Work Well
- Wasteful Pirates Shooting
Pirates Face Reinforced Defence
Rulani Mokwena’s side faced a very organised and defensively resolute Stellenbosch who blocked off the centre of the pitch very well and looked to funnel Pirates wide. Last season, Bucs had trouble in numerous games against sides who defended deep and compressed space between the lines. Bidvest Wits and Bloefontein Celtic were two of the sides to beat Pirates 1-0 with less than 40% possession. Pirates had 62.6% of the ball in this match and made 280 more passes than the home side.
Stellenbosch Exploit Jele Absence
With captain, Happy Jele suspended, Alfred Ndengane was recalled to the side. It was his error in building up from the back that gave Stellenbosch a crucial lead to protect. With Innocent Maela also missing (only on the bench), the home side were a danger on the counter attack. Jele’s ball-playing ability and leadership were both missed in this game with Ndengane and Ntsikelelo Nyauza playing together for the first time ever.
Barker’s Changes Work Well
For this game, Stellenbosch recalled many of the players that they rested for the Telkom Knockout clash against Pirates last weekend. Having used a 4-1-4-1 shape in that game, Steve Barker played a 5-3-2 in this match. Robyn Johannes played in the middle of three central defenders instead of in his recent defensive midfield role, whilst Kristopher Bergman was used as a destroyer in front of the defence. He had a great game, winning four tackles, making two interceptions and 11 clearances.
A strike force pairing of Iqraam Rayners and Waseem Isaacs ensured Stellenbosch had some pace and threat on the counter attack. Later on, Rayners went for Mpho Matsi as Stellenbosch completely shut up shop.
Wasteful Pirates Shooting
Pirates had a massive 32 shots in this game, but only hit the target on five occasions. After two shots on target from 10 attempts in the first period, they registered a mammoth 22 second half shots, but only three were on goal.
In terms of crossing, the side delivered 48 balls into the box – 37 from open play and 11 from dead ball situations. Nine of those deliveries reached a teammate. In the final 30 minutes alone, 27 crosses rained in, with six reaching a teammate. The often ruthless Tshegofatso Mabasa had eight shots, missing two good chances and nearly levelling with an acrobatic overhead kick. Bucs certainly created enough openings to score several goals but could not find the back of the net.
Why are Pirates struggling to win in the league right now? Where can Mokwena improve his side? Let us know by commenting below!