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SuperSport United v Orlando Pirates

COMMENT: It is time for Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic to stop experimenting

10:57 PM GMT+4 21/02/2019
Milutin Sredojevic, Orlando Pirates
Goal discusses Bucs' defeat to Matsatsantsa and the way forward

Orlando Pirates blew their chance to move into second place on the Premier Soccer League (PSL) standings on Wednesday.

A second-half Clayton Daniels goal earned SuperSport United a hard-fought victory over the Buccaneers, who tasted their maiden league defeat in six months.

It was a game which was dominated by Pirates, but the Soweto giants could not turn their dominance into goals in an encounter which was played at the Mbombela Stadium.

Matsatsantsa's game plan worked well on the night as they allowed Bucs to have the ball before pressing them and launching quick counter attacks.

Pirates' Wayne Sandilands was the busier of the two goalkeepers and proved to be a stumbling block as he made several great saves until he was finally beaten by Daniels in the 65th minute.

The decision to use a 4-3-3 formation backfired for the Bucs technical team as the Soweto giants struggled to create clear cut opportunities.

Gaps appeared in the Bucs midfield when countered by speedy attackers Aubrey Modiba and Evans Rusike, while the visitors' defence was easily exploited.

It was the fifth time that Xola Mlambo, Musa Nyatama and Ben Motshwari have started together as the three midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Nyatama and Mlambo were deployed as the two holding midfielders, while Motshwari operated as an attacking midfielder.

It is time for Micho to do away with the formation as they have scored only two goals and won once when using it with the three players.

The Buccaneers should revert back to the 4-4-2 formation which allowed the team to have four offensive players - two wingers and two strikers.

It brought out the best in Augustine Mulenga, Justin Shonga, Thembinkosi Lorch and Vincent Pule, who formed a devastating attack which propelled Bucs to the top of the league standings at some point this season.

The four versatile attackers are able to confuse the opposition's defence by interchanging positions (wing and centre forward) as they look to create triangular movements which lead to goals.

This allowed one of the two central midfielders, in most cases Mlambo, who has offensive skills, to move up and create chances for the team.

Bucs were without Mulenga, who was absent for unknown reasons against SuperSport, but Sredojevic had the luxury of handing Kudakwashe Mahachi a start after the Zimbabwean attacker netted a few goals for the team this season, but he did not oblige. 

The defeat to SuperSport saw Pirates remain third on the league standings - four points behind leaders, Bidvest Wits with 10 games left.

Pirates' hopes of winning the PSL title are very much still alive and they have kind fixtures coming up as they will be facing struggling teams which are hovering just above the relegation zone.

Furthermore, they still have matches against title rivals Mamelodi Sundowns, who are placed second on the league standings with two games in hand, and Wits, which are scheduled to be played in April 2019.

So, it is imperative for the four-time PSL champions to collect as many points as possible before taking on Sundowns and Wits.