Mamelodi Sundowns vs Orlando Pirates: A game of missed goalscoring chances

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Sundowns saw their seven-match unbeaten run against Pirates come to an abrupt end this weekend, but were was the match won and lost?

PSL matches between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns hardly disappoint, and Saturday’s encounter at the Loftus Stadium was no different.

The Buccaneers ended Sundowns’ dominance in style, and credit should go to coach Micho Sredojevic for toppling Pitso Mosimane.

While four goals were scored on the day, some would feel robbed as both sides created a number of good goalscoring chances throughout the 90 minutes.

It was indeed a game of missed goalscoring opportunities. Goal takes a look at where the match was won and lost.


MABOKGWANE - THE DIFFERENCE MAKER


Jackson Mabokgwane, Orlando Pirates

Jackson Mabokgwane may not be every fan’s favourite at Pirates right now, but he proved this past weekend that he deserves some respect.

The goalkeeper produced a series of brilliant saves in the opening stages of the encounter, ensuring that Pirates maintained their early lead over Sundowns.

Having conceded six goals the last time he faced Sundowns at the same venue, Mabokgwane needed to bring his A-game against his former employers, and show why the club doesn’t need to worry about boosting the goalkeeping department.

Had it not been for Mabokgwane’s early saves, which included among others, denying Percy Tau, Themba Zwane and Sibusiso Vilakazi, Pirates would have easily lost to the Brazilians. 


MISSED CHANCES AND POOR DEFENDING


Percy Tau & Anthony Laffor, Mamelodi Sundowns

Percy Tau is not a natural striker, but he’s known for his ability to score goals, and that's why he's among the leading goalscorers in the league this season.

While, he scored the consolation goal for the Tshwane outfit a few minutes before the interval, the young attacker should have done better against a very disorganized Pirates defence on the day.

It wasn’t only him who wasted a few good chances, as Anthony Laffor missed quite at least two after coming as a substitute in the second half.

Pirates took three of their many chances created, but they also could have scored more had they taken at least half of them.

In an open game such as that, one would expect more than just four goals, and although Sredojevic was understandably pleased with the three goals scored by his side, there’s still a lot of work to do in the remaining matches of the season if Bucs are to mount a serious title challenge.   


SUNDOWNS TRIO STIFLED IN MIDFIELD 


Hlompho Kekana Sibusiso Vilakazi and Tiyani Mabunda - Mamelodi Sundowns

According to statistics, Sundowns dominated the possession throughout the game, but their three-man midfield was often stifled and forced to knock the ball around in areas where they couldn’t hurt Pirates.

Tiyani Mabunda, Hlompho Kekana and Oupa Manyisa were all surprisingly not as effective against Mpho Makola and Musa Nyatama, who are both not so quick on and off the ball.

The trio often struggled to penetrate through the middle, and they were forced to play their passes in wide areas where Sundowns looked a bit more dangerous going forward.

They also failed dismally to protect their back four, and that gave Pirates acres of space to test and beat Denis Onyango, who had an average game.   

Mosimane opted for a Motjeka Madisha-Ricardo Nascimento partnership in defence, and the two centre-backs didn't click, while he had to give Siyanda Zwane a run on the right hand side. 

Of course that affected their defensive structure as Zwane didn't time his forward runs well, leaving his colleagues exposed at times.  

Pirates were also not so well organized defensively, and had it not been for Sundowns' poor finishing coupled with Mabokgwane's saves, they would have paid a heavy price.  


THE LUVUYO MEMELA EFFECT


Orlando Pirates, Luvuyo Memela

The left-footed winger could have easily scooped the man of the match award after the final whistle, but it was instead handed over to Mabokgwane, who was equally deserving of the accolade.

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Memela was brilliant all round, and created a few openings for his teammates, although the majority of those chances were not taken.

Memela was showered with praise by opposition coach Pitso Mosimane for his efforts, and rightfully so, as he gave Sundowns players a good run for their money. He was brave to run at defenders and switch positions with ease.  

Sundowns were curious and predictable, and even with Memela running the show, they still couldn’t find a way to close him down, and for that reason, the 29-year-old ended up beating with Onyango with a well-taken goal to put the game to bed with his side's third of the afternoon.

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