Orlando Pirates got back to winning ways with a convincing win against Lamontville Golden Arrows. But what was the win down to, and does this mean that Pirates are back on track to contest for the title?
Speaking to Buccaneers legend Tso Vilakazi earlier in the week, he felt that the squad strengths were not utilised. Calling for an adaptation of formation, which Jose Riveiro actually did, by playing with one defensive midfielder in Miguel Timm, and by adding more attacking prowess, giving freedom to the creative players like Phillip Ndlondlo in advanced positions.
A positive change was getting the balls into the wide channels to create space, and being more accurate in delivering that final ball into Kermit Erasmus. Erasmus is reclaiming his position as one of the most intelligent number nines in the league, coming up with two assists on the night, which was evident of his good decision making.
“We have a lot of talented players, when they have a chance to play more minutes together, when we are not forced to make substitutions every game and we can repeat the starting 11,” Riveiro told Supersport TV.
“The interactions between the players improve, they know each other better and start to understand better. Body language and communication, those associations between talented players are just coming, to give them a great structure so they can shine.”
The Orlando Pirates coach made a bold decision in this match by playing Ndlondlo, Kabelo Dlamini, Deon Hotto, Monnapule Saleng and Erasmus, a move that could be seen as a surprise. But it was a plan that worked particularly well in the first half. The only worrying factor would be their lack of motivation in the second half to push on and get that third goal, extending their record to 12 games without scoring in the second half.
“Well like I mentioned previously, we want to start at away the way we usually start at home, today the boys did a fantastic job,” Jose Riveiro continued on Supersport TV after the game.
“The first 25 minutes we played beautiful football, plenty of run-ins, transitions. Today was enough, we were accurate in the first part of the first half, we could even get more of an advantage before half time.
“Obviously in the second half, Arrows have to take more risks and accumulate more players up front. It’s a pity that we couldn’t make better transitions in the second half but overall Pirates did a good job tonight. We really deserved that we won.
Riveiro made five substitutions in the second stanza, but all of those that came on did not make the impact that he was hoping for. This will not go down well, bearing in mind that they have a second leg encounter against Mamelodi Sundowns soon. They will need a complete performance in order to get to the final.
“I have seen before this type of performances, the only difference tonight is that we scored,” Orlando Pirates Head Coach added.