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How Al Ahly orchestrated the downfall of Pirates?

Written By Themba Khumalo on Tuesday, November 12, 2013 | Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Al Ahly won the tournament because of the experience, tenacity and excellent tactical philosophy of the head coach Mohamed Youssef who never implemented the ultra-defensive football even when Al Ahly took a lead away from home. Al Ahly tactical approach throughout the games against Orlando Pirates was to play to its utmost best without compromising its effective offensive movements.  Al Ahly demonstrated valour performance throughout the games and converted all the chances created which is a good lesson learned by Orlando Pirates who missed avalanches of clear cut goal opportunities.

Al Ahly simply orchestrated the downfall of Pirates in both legs. The approach of Al Ahly in the 1st leg at Orlando Stadium was to close down the operative wing play of Pirates which resulted in Daine Klate and Tlou Segolela barely penetrated the left and right full backs of Al Ahly made up of Sherif Abdel-Fadil and Sayed Moawad whilst Pirates on form player Oupa Manyisa was neutralised in the engine room by Hossam Ashour to cut down adequate ball supply upfront. 

The tactical plan of Youssef produced positive results after Pirates was forced to play outside its comfort zone from within whilst the wing play was ineffective. Al Ahly only utilised counter attack to create mayhem in the Pirates box which resulted in a second goal by Ahmed Abdel-Zaher ruled out due to an offside claim. Replays however showed that Abdel-Zaher was onside. To be honest, Al Ahly deserved a win in Orlando Stadium but poor refereeing and the last minute goal of Thabo Matlaba at the stoppage time denied them an important away victory.

In Cairo, Arab construction stadium, Al Ahly won the game based on experience and converting chances whilst Pirates dominated part of the game but missed out clear cut opportunities. Wael Gomaa and Mohamed Naguib marked Lennox Bacela out of the game despite lacking of pace. Pirates dominated the game in Cairo but missed clear cut opportunities. The poor scoring rate of Pirates in the last 7 games of African Championship Cup justified that the team needs to acquire the service of good goal-poacher with good composure and scoring techniques. Pirates only scored 2 goals (Lennox Bacela and Rooi Mahamutsa) whilst conceded 6 goals in the past last 7 games of the CAF Champions League.

Pirates dominated many games but the scoring rate was very unimpressive towards the end of the tournament. Lone striker system and lack of composure are attributed to this low scoring rate due to unavailability of Kermit Erasmus who is a cup tied.

The bravery and heroic performance of Pirates justified that South African soccer is moving towards positive direction and I strongly believe that our national team will be inspired by Pirates form in Africa despite poor scoring rate.

The African voyage ended in positive note for Orlando Pirates and now it’s back to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) to play the catch-up games.

By Owen Mundalamo

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