After Saturday’s 2-1 win for Orlando Pirates against Kaizer Chiefs in the Telkom Knockout semi-final, much of the talk was about how Bucs dominated the game, and Giovanni Solinas had his team set up very defensively.
Did Pirates’ Milutin Sredojevic and his technical team simply tactically outsmart Solinas? There were five key tactical factors in Pirates winning this clash.
• Dominating possession in order to impose themselves on Chiefs, but also as a way of defending
• Keeping Chiefs key man in Khama Billiat quiet
• Targeting the Kaizer Chiefs right flank for the third derby in a row.
• Using Musa Nyatama and Xola Mlambo to control proceedings and tire Chiefs out
• Introducing impact substitute, Augustine Mulenga at the right time to exploit a tired and slow Amakhosi backline
Orlando Pirates had 60.8% possession in the match, with Chiefs having just 39.2%. With Bucs having so much of the ball, Chiefs rarely had a chance to attack them, and Amakhosi managed just four shots in the first 94 minutes of the game, before two late attempts.
The Chiefs attacker scored in a league meeting between the sides four weeks ago, but he was kept completely quiet in this match. Although he set up the equaliser for Leonardo Castro with a long pass over the top, that was the only chance he created in the game. Billiat’s only shot at goal was a bicycle kick attempt in the 95th minute.
When Pirates beat Chiefs 3-1 in March, all three goals came down the right side. In the recent 2-1 for Pirates, they again focused their attacks through Maela, Pule and Mulenga on the Chiefs’ right. In this game, with Nyatama moving wide, Maela could bomb forward to link up with Lorch. This exposed Mphahlele defensively and also stopped the Chiefs right back from bombing forward like usual.
Mlambo and Musa Control
The Pirates midfield combo controlled this match, often dropping deep to start attacks or moving wide so their fullbacks could get forward. Nyatama made 74 passes with 69 reaching a teammate (93%), whilst Mlambo made 56 passes with 46 reaching a Pirates player (82%). Mlambo also won a game-high five tackles to stop Chiefs' counter attacks.
Match-winning Mulenga Move
After 68 minutes, as Chiefs began to tire, Micho introduced Augustine Mulenga. Micho said, “Our thinking was that we put an extra player that can pull on the shoulders of Shonga so that he can express himself. Exactly that happened.” Mulenga’s cross provided the assist for Shonga’s winner. Whilst on the field for just 22 minutes, Mulenga created three chances for teammates.
You can find a more in-depth tactical analysis of the Soweto Derby in this week's edition of Soccer Laduma - on sale Wednesday!
Will Pirates lift the Telkom Knockout on the 8th of December or will Baroka cause an upset? Let us know what you think of Pirates’ tactics in the comment section below!