Sec­ond half – Pi­rates stick to plan

Soccer Laduma - - Make Your Point -

In the sec­ond pe­riod, coach Mi­lutin Sre­do­je­vic ad­mit­ted that his side looked to keep the ball as a way of de­fend­ing as well as a way of be­ing pa­tient and prob­ing for open­ings as Chiefs be­gan to tire. When Manyama ran out of steam, Bernard Parker came into the ac­tion but he was no bet­ter equipped to play as a de­fen­sive winger. Soli­nas had lit­tle else of any use on his bench. The Pi­rates bench had Au­gus­tine Mu­lenga, and his in­tro­duc­tion against Chiefs’ tired legs made a big dif­fer­ence as he pro­vided the as­sist for Shonga’s goal, where no Chiefs de­fender re­acted when the scorer’s bi­cy­cle kick failed and he had time to jump up, drib­ble past Mphahlele and score in un­typ­i­cally com­posed fash­ion.

Pi­rates’ wide play in the sec­ond pe­riod was im­pres­sive, with Lorch link­ing up well with a pre­vi­ously quiet Shonga, whilst Pule was found with cross-field switches of play by Mlambo and could run at God­frey Walusimbi. One such drib­ble nearly set up an open goal chance for Shonga. The goal came late, but had the con­test ended 1-1 and gone to ex­tra time, Pi­rates’ move­ment of the ball was likely to even­tu­ally yield chances as an age­ing Chiefs team fa­tigued fur­ther.

Bil­liat in­vis­i­ble, miss­ing Nt­shangase

This was one of Bil­liat’s qui­etest

games for Chiefs. He had just four touches in the penalty area, one shot (a hope­ful bi­cy­cle at­tempt in the 94th minute), and his only shot as­sist was his spec­u­la­tive pass which Cas­tro scored from. With­out Nt­shangase on the field over the last four games (three starts for Maluleka and one for An­dri­ami­rado An­dri­a­na­ri­manana), Bil­liat has failed to score in any game and has been much less in­volved. Of Bil­liat’s 26 shots in the PSL this sea­son, Nt­shangase has played him the pass on 11 oc­ca­sions. ‘Stash’ is the man who can link the side’s mid­field and at­tack, and find Bil­liat in the pock­ets he favours. With two de­fen­sive mid­field­ers se­lected, there was no link to the at­tack and, with Chiefs de­fend­ing so deep, Bil­liat was dis­con­nected from his mid­field and front strike part­ner Cas­tro for the most part.

Af­ter a su­perb start to the sea­son as a Chiefs player, as the side played an open, at­tack­ing style, Bil­liat has since seen his per­for­mances dip as Soli­nas has moved to a more con­ser­va­tive, de­fen­sive style of play.

Chiefs old and out of ideas

Whilst Pi­rates looked mo­bile both on and off the ball, and full of en­ergy in at­tack, Chiefs looked old and slow. Ny­atama is older than any of Chiefs’ mid­field, yet he makes up for that by mov­ing the ball well, mak­ing for­ward passes and po­si­tion­ing him­self ef­fec­tively. Amakhosi’s mid­field pair­ing was slow across the ground, their at­tack did not have the speed to play on the counter at­tack as Soli­nas had planned, and most alarm­ingly, Manyama looked in­ef­fec­tive as he strug­gles to shed weight af­ter a year of in­ac­tiv­ity. He was never a very speedy player, and there­fore al­ways strug­gled as a winger, but ex­celled when used as a num­ber 10 or false nine at Cape Town City. At Chiefs, he is sta­tioned on the flank where he of­fers lit­tle to the at­tack and does not have the fit­ness or en­ergy to track the op­po­si­tion’s at­tack­ing full­backs. His se­lec­tion for this game made no sense, and a de­fen­sively solid player like Phi­lani Zulu would have been more suitable in Chiefs’ ul­tra-de­fen­sive game plan. When it came to Chiefs try­ing to play out from the back, Booysen was com­pletely un­com­fort­able on the left of the pair­ing and of­ten gave the ball away with long passes over the top. Both full­backs were ex­posed with a lack of de­fen­sive pro­tec­tion from the wide play­ers. When Chiefs needed some fresh im­pe­tus from the bench, there was not much to call on. Manyama ran out of steam af­ter an hour, so Parker came on to play as a wide man.

Pi­rates dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion in this game, hav­ing 60.8% pos­ses­sion, mak­ing 565 passes to Chiefs’ 312. They had 13 shots to Chiefs’ six, though Amakhosi had just four shots in the first 89 min­utes of foot­ball. They also only man­aged three cor­ners, which was a missed op­por­tu­nity as Mabokg­wane looked in trou­ble from ev­ery high ball he had to deal with. First, he fum­bled a first half cross from Walusimbi, then he had two weak at­tempts to punch clear in the lat­ter stages. Had Chiefs played a more at­tack­ing game and tested the goal­keeper more of­ten on crosses or set plays, they could have forced fur­ther er­rors.

Pi­rates’ Justin Shonga (cen­tre) cel­e­brates his win­ning goal with team­mates dur­ing last Sat­ur­day’s derby.

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