Jose Riveiro’s men have marched on to the final of the MTN 8, after easing passed Mamelodi Sundowns at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday, 22 October 2022. The game ended 3-0, with Monnapule Saleng putting on a stunning display, as he walked away with the man of the match award. The game also gave a glimpse of Jose Riveiro’s vision for the club.
The Buccaneer coach has shown he is the man for the job, as he managed to overcome the best team in South African football currently. The Spaniard has shown that his team is heading in the right direction, but that he is still not overly confident with the recent run of form.
“You need to be competitive in the days where you cannot handle possession, in the days where your opponent is strong. We were facing an excellent opponent, they needed a goal very early in the game, so it is normal. They have the capacity to cause damage and submit their opponents. So, we need to improve and gain more time with the ball. But things will get better since this is our first experience together in these type of games”, Riveiro said.
Riveiro has been very patient with his team. Pirates formulated a formation that worked exceptionally well, having Timm and Makaringe sitting in the middle as screening defensive midfield players. That gave Hotto and Saleng freedom to push forward to join Erasmus and Ndlondlo in the attack.
As much as the Soweto giants did not have much possession, they worked with what they had in their arsenal. The partnership of Sibisi and Ndah at the back made life difficult for the reigning league champions.
The tactical plan of having two screening defensive players in the middle of the park created traffic, which gave no space for Zwane, Serino and Mokoena to maneuver. The free play that Sundowns usually display was nowhere to be seen.
The Buccaneers have conceded 6 goals in all competitions this season, and this game was a true reflection of their defensive form so far. Riveiro is slowly introducing that Spanish style of play at Pirates, with patient play, knowing how to build up and move the ball around.
The game plan worked out for the Soweto-based side, as it forced the Sundowns players to commit numerous fouls. Sundowns finished the game with ten men, as Modiba was sent off after receiving his second yellow card.