Puz­zled with Su­per­Sport tac­tics

The Citizen (KZN) - - Latest News -

What Su­per­Sport United usu­ally do against the big teams, and why they have come to be known as gi­ant-killers, is that they take the game to their op­po­nents and press high up the pitch. In Sun­day’s Tsh­wane derby de­feat to Mamelodi Sun­downs, how­ever, they were a bit cau­tious. I don’t know if it was be­cause in the pre­vi­ous league game against Sun­downs they had lost 2-0, so they de­cided to change their tac­tics, but maybe it played in Sun­downs’ favour.

Be­fore the match I did high­light the ab­sence of the sus­pended Te­boho Mokoena for this game, I be­lieve he is the heart­beat of this Su­per­Sport side. Dean Fur­man is so good at cov­er­ing in front of the de­fence that Mokoena be­comes the link be­tween mid­field and at­tack, he knows when to sit next to Fur­man, and when to go for­ward. I think Su­per­Sport lost a bit of bite in the mid­dle of the park as a re­sult of his ab­sence, and when they did go for­ward, they weren’t quick enough.

With Sun­downs at the back you need place to ex­ploit them, and a strength of Su­per­Sport is also to get down the flanks. Sun­downs

right back Anele Ng­con­gca didn’t re­ally go for­ward at all, and when Te­bogo Langer­man did they were able to cover, so they didn’t al­low Su­per­Sport the space on the sides that they nor­mally get.

Themba Zwane be­ing back was a big one for Sun­downs, and their for­ma­tion and tac­tics were good on the day. They played two num­ber 10s, some­times we think Sibu­siso Vi­lakazi or Lebo Maboe is more like a false nine, but I thought it was more like two num­ber 10s. They were able to find space in the pock­ets be­tween de­fence and mid­field, and the front four had the free­dom to move where they wanted. When play­ers are mov­ing around all the time in at­tack­ing ar­eas it be­comes dif­fi­cult. Sun­downs do that well, they shift their op­po­nents into un­com­fort­able po­si­tions and that is why it is so dif­fi­cult to play against them. They man­age the game well and can change the tempo of a game. They may not be free- scor­ing, but they don’t need to win by four or five…they man­age in all the com­pe­ti­tions to save their en­ergy.

Kaizer Chiefs should have man­aged the game against Black Leop­ards a bit bet­ter. They got an all-im­por­tant goal early on, be­cause play­ing con­di­tions are very dif­fi­cult in Venda, but they should have con­trolled the game from there but couldn’t. That is to take noth­ing away from Leop­ards, they ac­tu­ally have a star-stud­ded team, with qual­ity play­ers through­out the pitch. They got a goal and at least shared the spoils, though in their sit­u­a­tion in the ta­ble that doesn’t re­ally help, they needed the three points. Chiefs also got a bit lucky be­cause Bid­vest Wits lost…Sun­downs gained ground, but if you look holis­ti­cally for Chiefs trav­el­ling away and get­ting a point against Leop­ards is not too bad. Pre­vi­ously teams were not afraid to play Chiefs, but this is a dif­fer­ent Chiefs side.

Pitso Mosi­mane is play­ing mind games by say­ing this is a honey­moon for Chiefs, I don’t think honey­moon is the right word. They do have a bit of an edge, and an ad­van­tage from not trav­el­ling in Africa. It is sim­i­lar to when Chelsea won the English Premier League un­der An­to­nio Conte, and didn’t have to play in Europe. As for the resur­gence of Or­lando Pi­rates, it is amaz­ing how in team sport a side’s for­tunes can turn around quickly.

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