First half - Pi­rates pos­ses­sion, Chiefs po­si­tion

Soccer Laduma - - Make Your Point -

In foot­ball, there are gen­er­ally two ways to con­trol matches – by keep­ing the ball (Pos­ses­sion) and by con­trol­ling space (Po­si­tion). These two sides took com­pletely dif­fer­ent tac­ti­cal ap­proaches in this match. Or­lando Pi­rates im­me­di­ately looked to play their usual style of play by build­ing up from the back, in an at­tempt to in­vite op­po­nents to close them down, then look­ing to play for­ward, leav­ing sev­eral op­po­nents elim­i­nated from the game. Kaizer Chiefs, on the other hand, lost their third derby in a row hav­ing tried very dif­fer­ent tac­tics in each game and still com­ing up short. In the match four weeks ago, they used the same 4-4-2 for­ma­tion as in this match, but pressed high up with five play­ers clos­ing down Bucs’ build-up. In this game, with two de­fen­sive mid­field­ers used and Siphelele Nt­shangase not even on the bench, Chiefs in­stead dropped off Pi­rates com­pletely, set­ting up in a deep block with even Khama Bil­liat po­si­tioned around the half­way line.

Chiefs’ plan was to al­low the Bucs cen­tre-backs Mar­shall Munetsi and Happy Jele, to have lots of the ball, but not many open for­ward op­tions to pass to. In the early part of the game, this worked quite well as Xola Mlambo and Musa Ny­atama were strug­gling to find space with Wil­lard Kat­sande and Ge­orge Maluleka in close at­ten­dance, but also Leonardo Cas­tro and Khama Bil­liat drop­ping deep to close down the Pi­rates mid­field. When Chiefs did win the ball, they looked to at­tack quickly on the break against a slow Pi­rates de­fence, but Amakhosi had too much ground to make up and not enough pace of their own to hurt Pi­rates. Whereas in the game four weeks ago, Bil­liat was con­stantly run­ning off the back of Happy Jele in the early stages, here he was in­stead pick­ing up the ball 30-40 yards from goal, and was still barely in­volved in the game.

Pi­rates strike, Chiefs re­spond

The best way for Pi­rates to force Chiefs to play a dif­fer­ent style was to take the lead and make Gio­vanni Soli­nas push his team higher up the pitch. Whilst Bucs did score first, their lead last only four min­utes, so Chiefs had no rea­son to play any more pro­gres­sively. Bucs’ goal came from a counter-at­tack as Jack­son Mabokg­wane, a sur­prise se­lec­tion ahead of Siyabonga Mpontshane, picked out Vin­cent Pule with an ac­cu­rate long kick. This se­lec­tion in goal must surely have been down to Mabokg­wane’s su­pe­rior ball-play­ing abil­ity, be­cause he is lack­ing in other as­pects of goal­keep­ing in com­par­i­son to Mpontshane and Pi­rates were al­most made to pay on a few oc­ca­sions for his lack of au­thor­ity when fac­ing crosses and high balls.

Nev­er­the­less, the goal­keeper’s long kick found Pule, as Mario Booysen made a bad er­ror in miss­ing his at­tempted con­trol when a safety-first clear­ance was ac­tu­ally needed. Pule then pro­vided a su­perb as­sist with the out­side of his left foot as he curled a low cross into the box. Lorch had es­caped Ramahlwe Mphahlele’s at­ten­tion and fin­ished bril­liantly.

Chiefs did level soon af­ter. Bil­liat, who had started in the mid­dle, had gone over to the left flank (with the re­turn­ing Le­bo­gang Manyama swap­ping roles with him) and as­sisted the goal for Cas­tro, who was look­ing much more dan­ger­ous af­ter two full weeks of train­ing to get fit dur­ing the FIFA break. As with Booysen’s er­ror, Jele tried to be too clever and when the heavy play­ing sur­face slowed the ball down, Cas­tro got in front of Mabokg­wane to score. Jele sim­ply had to clear his lines that close to goal. How­ever, the fact that Pi­rates have to de­fend so deep is due to Jele’s lack of speed in the first place.

Mi­cho’s mid­field shuf­fle

Af­ter start­ing the game with Pule on the left flank and Lorch on the right, Mi­cho soon swapped the two play­ers. Chiefs started with de­cent con­trol of Pi­rates’ cen­tral mid­field­ers, but a key change by the Buc­ca­neers’ tech­ni­cal staff solved this prob­lem. Ny­atama, back in the side af­ter an in­jury to Ben Motshwari, moved out of the mid­dle and to­wards the left back po­si­tion, giv­ing ac­tual left back In­no­cent Maela more cover to push for­ward, and there­fore al­low Lorch to move in­side. On the other flank, Mlambo also looked to move slightly wider. The point of these moves was to try to open up a gap in Chiefs’ mid­field if Kat­sande or Maluleka fol­lowed their di­rect op­po­nents out of the cen­tre. With Pule and Lorch able to cut in, and Ku­tumela play­ing close enough to Justin Shonga to pull Siyabonga Ngezana out of the back­line at times, Pi­rates had sud­denly opened up space in front of Chiefs’ back four. This did not yield that many ob­vi­ous op­por­tu­ni­ties, but Pi­rates were able to get at the Amakhosi back­line more of­ten, whilst also tir­ing out Chiefs mid­field, who had to con­stantly shift from side to side. These changes also caused prob­lems for the Amakhosi full­backs who of­ten found them­selves out­num­bered against Pi­rates’ wide for­ays. De­spite Bucs get­ting into good ar­eas us­ing this tweak, they did not cre­ate many good chances and lacked some ideas how to break down Chiefs hav­ing 10 men be­hind the ball at times.

Musa Ny­atama touch map: Mins 0-32: Ny­atama builds play from left back area to al­low Maela to push for­ward.

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