After ending their run of six games without a win in all competitions last week, Orlando Pirates recorded a second consecutive victory against Golden Arrows.
Four key factors to the victory were:
- Pirates Score First
- Bucs Keep Rare Clean Sheet
- Arrows Wasteful with Width
- Versatile Pule
Pirates Score First
In a tight, tactical game like this, the first goal was crucial. It took just 20 minutes for Pirates to open the scoring as Justin Shonga finished Luvuyo Memela’s assist. With Pirates using the same 3-2-4-1 formation from the last game, it is imperative to score first and be able to make defensive changes later on to protect a lead. Pirates have won seven and drawn two of their games this season when scoring first, but have won just two of nine games when 1-0 down.
Bucs Keep Rare Clean Sheet
This was just Pirates’ fifth clean sheet in 22 PSL games this season and just their 8th clean sheet in their last 39 league games. Musa Nyatama had a strong game protecting the defence, winning four tackles and two aerial duels. When Pirates’ front five swarmed forward, Bucs left three defenders plus Nyatama as their 'rest defence' to deal with counter attacks.
Arrows Wasteful With Width
When attacking, Arrows would leave right back Nkosinathi Sibisi to make a back three and allow left back Divine Lung to bomb forward. On the right flank, Nduduzo Sibiya gave width to try to stretch Pirates and open gaps between their back three. However, the side created little with their width as neither player created a chance and just two of their 19 open play crosses found a teammate. Arrows managed just six shots at goal and only one on target.
Since Pirates moved to a back three and a very attacking 3-2-4-1 shape, it has seen Vincent Pule move back to a winger role. Earlier in the season, he played as an inside forward in a narrow role. For this game, Pule had to track Divine Lunga’s thrusts from left back and defended well. Besides making three dribbles and his two chances created, Pule won four tackles, made seven clearances and won all four of his aerial duels.
Are Pirates hitting form at just the right time? Does the new formation bring out the best in Pirates’ players? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!