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COMMENT: What went wrong for Orlando Pirates and how they should respond at African Stars

8:34 PM GMT 17/12/2018
Happy Jele of Orlando Pirates tackles Nekundi Panduleni of African Stars, December 2018
Goal takes a look at what went wrong for the Buccaneers and how they should respond for the return in Namibia

Orlando Pirates were expected to seal a routine win over African Stars in the 2018/19 Caf Champions League this past weekend.

The Soweto giants had made light work of Light Stars in the preliminary rounds - hammering the 2018 Seychelles League Cup winners 8-2 on aggregate.

African Stars, who are making their debut appearance in the tournament, were expected to offer little resistance at the Orlando Stadium in the first-leg clash.

However, the Namibian Premier League champions produced an impressive defensive display against the 1995 Champions League winners, and ultimately the match ended in a goalless draw.

Goal takes a look at what went wrong for Pirates in Soweto.

Bucs underestimated African Stars

Bucs head coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic and his technical team simply underestimated African Stars as he rested a few of their key players for the encounter.

The Samba Boys were humiliated by their rivals Black Africa, who ran out 5-1 winners prior to the Pirates game, and they were also destabilized by the departure of coach Robert Nauseb following the shocking loss.

Bobby Samaria, who guided Stars to last season's Namibian Premier League title, was re-appointed as head coach ahead of the clash with Pirates.

Sredojevic decided to make unnecessary changes, dropping influential duo of Thembinkosi Lorch and Augustine Mulenga from the team that faced and defeated Free State Stars convincingly in a PSL match in midweek.

Mulenga grabbed two assists against Ea Lla Koto, while Lorch opened the scoring in that 3-1 win in the Free State province.  

Poor finishing let Micho's men down 

Meshack Maphangule and Paseka Mako replaced Mulenga and Lorch respectively, but they were never in the game which was completely dominated.

Mako tried his best to create chances while being deployed on the left wing, but it was difficult for him to make any serious impact as Stars had adopted a defensive approach.

On the other hand, Maphangule, who has been in and out of the Bucs starting line-up in recent times, tried too hard to impress but he was indecisive in front of goal showing his inexperience at this level.

Zambian forward Justin Shonga had lost his scoring touch and he was missing his usual strike-partners Mulenga and Lorch on the night.

Mulenga and Lorch were introduced in the second half, but they could not make any serious impact in the closing stages of the game as the Samba Boys sat back and defended in numbers. 

What Pirates should do in Namibia

Sredojevic needs to go back to the drawing and come up with a plan to overcome Stars in their own backyard at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Namibia on Saturday.

A lack of creativity was clearly one of the factors which contributed to Pirates' lacklustre performance at the Orlando Stadium. It is time for the Serbian coach to call on his creator in chief, Xola Mlambo, who is yet to feature in this season's Champions League.

The influential central midfielder has grabbed six assists this season and he is one player that's capable of inspiring the Buccaneers to victory having watched on from the bench on Saturday.

Zambian forward Mulenga and South Africa international Lorch, who have scored 10 goals between them this season, should both start upfront as they could be key to the team's victory in Windhoek.