On Saturday night, Orlando Pirates needed an 83rd minute goal to progress to the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals after a dominant display against Stellenbosch. Some key tactical factors in the victory were as follows:
- Stellies Sit Deep, Rest Players
- Pirates Return to Tried and Tested
- Bucs Miss Buckets of Chances
- Fringe Players Impress
Stellies Sit Deep, Rest Players
With the repeat fixture in the league next weekend, Stellenbosch decided to rest several key players for this game and instead focus on the PSL clash as top priority. Steve Barker set his side up in a 4-1-4-1 shape with Kristopher Bergman as a defensive midfielder in front of the back four. Last season’s top scorer, Iqraam Rayners continued in a left-sided role after impressing from wider in recent weeks.
Pirates Return to Tried and Tested
After some experimentation in recent matches with Fortune Makaringe playing wide and Kabelo Dlamini getting a chance to start, Rulani Mokwena returned to the most proven attacking trio behind the striker by selecting Augustine Mulenga, Vincent Pule and Thembinkosi Lorch in support of Tshegofatso Mabasa. This gave Pirates much more understanding in attack and led to numerous openings being created.
In goal, Wayne Sandilands returned in preference to Joris Delle and helped Pirates to keep a much-needed clean sheet after conceding seven goals in the previous two matches with the Frenchman in the side.
Bucs Miss Buckets of Chances
Pirates had an incredible 32 shots at goal in the game, but only eight hit the target. Vincent Pule looked fit and lively on his return to the XI, but really should have scored at least once from his eight attempts, as seven of those missed the target altogether.
Lorch eventually scored having had seven attempts in the game, whilst Mabasa missed a one-on-one opportunity late on as he ran through on goal. Mulenga also struck the post as he chose power over placement. Bucs delivered 23 open-play crosses into the box, but only five reached a teammate. They will need to be more ruthless in coming weeks.
Fringe Players Impress
This game saw a rare start for Paseko Mako at left back, whilst Linda Mntambo made his first appearance of the season and Justin Shonga had his first outing in two months. Mako defended impressively as he won five of his six tackles and both of his aerial duels, whilst he set up one chance going forward.
Mntambo also did a solid job, winning two tackles, completing 90% of his 61 passes and making 13 passes into the final third. His 80% forward passing accuracy was very good too.
Meanwhile, Shonga played 29 minutes including additional time, but struggled to get involved a great deal. Although he created two chances, he also missed a very clear opening in the 82nd minute.
Which Pirates players impressed you against Stellenbosch? Let us know by commenting below!