The central pair of Lucky Lekgwathi and Ayanda Ngcaba had a fair game but lacked adequate pace to close down Khama Billiat intelligent runs. Billiat should have scored avalanches of goals as they gave him sufficient space to score goals. The miscommunication between Lekgwathi and Ngcaba is still a major concern at the back. Lekgwathi should have played as sweeper and Ngcaba as central defender but Lekgwathi was doing most of chasing despite lacking good pace to close down the fast Rodney Ramagalela and Billiat.
Thabo Matlaba had a brilliant first half with his offensive moves but quite second half and never connected well with invisible Daine Klate who had a horrible second half as passenger in the train. Matlaba slow pace when tracking backing from attack was easily exposed by the intelligent Elias Pelembe who played some dangerous balls in the box. Pelembe enjoyed pouncing on Matlaba defending errors.
Happy Jele was very strong at the back and going forward in the first half. However, his right winger Khethowakhe Masuku put him under unnecessary pressure by loosing possession and balls cheaply. Jele should have done better in the second half by pushing forward but he delayed most of his attacking moves.
Lehlohonolo Masalesa lacked adequate pace to effectively control the engine room. He gave Sundowns adequate space to penetrate the defence. He never combined well with Oupa Manyisa who blew hot and cold in the game and also caught out of position many times. Manyisa failed to adapt to his old role in the engine room as he was played as behind striker in many of the past games.
Pirates engine room was easily dismantled by Sundowns creative player Teko Modise and hard-man Hlompo Kekana. I doubt if we still going to have effective Manyisa without Andile Jali. Ace Manyisa hibernated in the game without any serious impact.
The wing play was ineffective with less contribution to the game especial Klate whilst Masuku had brilliant first half with good crosses in the box. Tlou Segolela deserves a chance to bolster the wing play. Klate had one of the worst games by his standard.
Sifiso Myeni was nowhere to be seen in the second half. He never made any impact until he was replaced by Kermit Erasmus. Myeni intelligent runs cutting the field was non-existent in the second half. He failed to combine well with Helder Pelembe. It was a game of misunderstanding between Pelembe and Myeni.
Pelembe was never given adequate service upfront as Pirates service delivery upfront was too predictable. They played many aerial balls despite that Pelembe was sandwiched by two tall defenders Alje Schut and Thabo Nthethe. Pirates should have change the modus Operandi of balls supply upfront by playing balls on the ground to accommodate Pelembe who has excellent ball playing skills but struggled aerial to challenge Sundowns defence.
My view about the caretaker coach Eric Tinker is that Pirates is too big for him. He deployed ineffective Roger de Sa system again by weakening striking force when he started.
By Owen Mundalamo
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