Orlando Pirates had a tough task to overcome as they opened their PSL break against the league’s reigning champions Mamelodi Sundowns. Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riverio said that his team could have capitalized on their first-half performance. However, he found himself scratching his head at the end of the game.
“I have a feeling but it’s difficult to say from our perspective from the bench, but I have a feeling that we were the better team in the first half. We managed to get in control after 10-15 minutes and we had a couple of good chances to get the lead. Unfortunately, we could not take them. Then there was a moment after 35 minutes where we started defending a bit lower and one of the set pieces hurt us and Sundowns got the lead. That was just before the half time and that changed quite a lot and the second half, we had to risk a bit more, but I think Sundowns were better than us at the beginning of the second half. Then with the game at 2-0, it was a bit far for us,” Riverio said in his post-match interview.
The Soweto giants finished the game with 8 goal attempts, with only 4 shots on target compared to Mamelodi Sundowns’s 15 goal attempts and having managed 8 shots on target. Orlando Pirates were struggling for most of the game, their midfielders were nowhere to be found as Mamelodi Sundowns controlled all areas of the pitch. Orlando Pirates found themselves in their half of the field, with Timm and Motshwari spending more time defending rather than springing in passes in the middle of the park to find Hotto, Pule, and former Mamelodi Sundowns player Erasmus.
Buccaneer’s best player Saleng had one chance at goal but could not put the ball in the back of the net, as Williams stood firmly in goal. Orlando Pirates finished the game with 39 percent possession, and that was a true reflection of their entire game.