Disaster at Mbombela Stadium! ‘Bad day at the office’ is an under statement. As I’m writing this review, my phone keeps ringing, it’s diehard supporters of one of the biggest teams in Africa (Orlando Pirates) wanting to know what went wrong on the night. I don’t have the answer but let me give you my thoughts about the game.
It was fourth placed SuperSport United after 7 games, with 3 wins, 3 draws and 1 game lost with 12 points. Orlando Pirates on the other hand came into the game at 6th position after 6 games, with 2 wins, 4 draws and no game lost yet with 10 points.
Taking a look at the game at a wet and slippery Mbombela Stadium. It meant the players had to wear the right type of boots for the conditions, which would be the six studs or combination boot which is a combination of the multi studs and six studs. So that the players don’t slip around on the pitch as Gift Mothupa did for most of the game.
The line up was not changed for the first time this season, Pirates played with an unchanged team and squad meaning even the players on the bench were also unchanged from the derby. That goes well for the team, the more players play together the more they understand each other, that’s how the team spirit is built and cohesion between the player. But from my point of view I thought the coach would have dropped players that didn’t perform in the last game ( Makola, Rakhale and Mothupa).
The goalkeeping department looked solid from the last game. Brighton did well under the difficult wet conditions in the first half, what I liked in the first half was he had his body behind the ball when the likes of Mnyamane and Brockie had shots from range. When he punched, it was to the sides or away from danger. But in the second half he had the worst 45 minutes in a Bucs shirt. He made uncharacteristic mistake, Yeye’s goal was a goalkeeping error. Pirates should not have conceded in the near post, even though Mpho Makola should have followed Yeye because it was his man. Yeye made the pass and followed it, but Makola stopped tracking, at this stage Yeye’s goal made it 1 all. The second goal again was from that man Yeye, who was playing like he is teenager with the assist, and to top it off there was no marking from the defenders and Boxall made it 2-1. The third goal Mhlongo collided with Sarr when the ball was played in, which was a sign that he was not commanding his area or talking uncharacteristically again, then Boxall got a brace and made it 3-1. Goal number 4 from Phala came from a cross by Mnyamane. It should have been a routine catch on another day for Mhlongo, but on the day he punched it into the danger area where Phala said thank you very much and it was 4-1. Number 5 was a cross from Phala with no pressure on him when he was crossing Grobler challenged for the ball with Nyauza, the centre backs were caught ball watching and nowhere to be found. I thought the keeper had no chance. Number 6 was a lovely pass by Phala to release Brockie, the defense was caught flat and Mhlongo fouled Brockie on 1 v 1 but it was outside the penalty area. It shouldn’t have been a penalty, the referee, Mr. Hlongwane gave a red card then later changed his mind and gave a yellow card, strange. Brockie picked himself up and made it 6-1.
The defense were stretched at times, because Nyauza and Matlaba are not doing the basics right. First and most they are defenders they first job is to look after their winger or let me make it simple they must mark first before thinking about attacking. And I think they are doing the opposite because they attack more than defending. The 2 fullbacks needs to work on that, on this game I thought the wingers had too much time on the ball to put crosses without pressure. The centre back pairing was okay first half but in the second half Grobler and Brockie were given time and space to receive the ball without pressure. In wet conditions you need put pressure which makes it even more difficult for the strikers to control the ball. Player that we’re having shot were pressed which is not right.
In midfield, I thought in the first half was ok, Rakhale looked lively in the first half, he provided the cross for Ndoro’s opener. Nooriden on the other side was also lively in the first half, he was quick and full of running. The coaching staff must work on his endurance as he seems to tire when he reaches the hour mark. I also like the changing of position between the 2 wingers in the first half, but in second they were found wanting. In central midfield there was a tactical switch between Makola and Mothupa. Which saw Makola playing closer to Sarr and Mothupa closer to Ndoro. Which was the opposite in the derby, but it didn’t work in the derby and also against Supersport in my view. The less said about the two, the better. Sarr found himself chasing shadows because Furman and the brilliant man of the match, Yeye, were running rings around him. I also thought the game changed was when Mnyamane was brought on, I thought he was brilliant too.
Upfront, Ndoro got the goal and the opener of the game. When he scored, I thought if Pirates upped the gear or took the game to the next level Supersport were in trouble. I feel he relaxed a bit after scoring the goal. Ndoro also missed a penalty which would have made it 6-2. Morrison came off the bench again, he showed signs of his quality but he tries too hard at times, taking on too many defenders alone. He has skill and pace and maybe the coach needs to try him from the start in the next game. Gabuza came on and there wasn’t enough time and the damage was done already.
I could see disappointment in coach Muhsin Ertuğral’s eyes, you could see fire in his eyes and the fact that coach has very high standards. I hope and wish the comment about resigning was just an emotional one and that he doesn’t resign. Whiles writing this article no final decision had been taken. But the fact is he is now in the history books of Orlando Pirates as he has equaled the worst defeat which is equal to the loss Pirates suffered against Mamelodi Sundowns in the then BP Top 8 on the 3rd of February 1990.
A very sad day for the Ghost, hardie maBuccarners. Hudo luga ( all will be fine soon).