COMMENT: Defensive problems for Orlando Pirates a cause of concern for fans

Goal looks at what went wrong against the Clever Boys and explains why the Soweto giants' defensive problems are a cause for concern for fans

Orlando Pirates' defensive shortcomings were exposed in their 4-3 defeat to Bidvest Wits on Saturday night.

However, it had been coming since the current season started last month and the numbers make grim reading for fans of Rhulani Mokwena's side.

The trip to Moses Mabhida Stadium was Pirates' first real test under Mokwena and they failed it. 

Defence Leaking Goals

Mokwena PS

The Buccaneers have now conceded nine goals in six matches this season which is the worst defensive record in the PSL at the moment.

They came into their clash with Wits having kept only two clean sheets in their previous eight matches across all competitions in the current campaign.

It was a poor record for a team harbouring ambitions of challenging for the league title as the defence is key to winning the coveted trophy.

The defensive frailties will undermine Pirates' hopes of challenging for the trophy unless something is done to eradicate the problem.

Mokwena will have to find the solution to his side's shortcomings at the back as soon as possible before it costs the team more points.

Backline Exposed By Midfield

Rulani Mokwena, Orlando Pirates, August 2019

Wits were just slightly more clinical than a Pirates side which was set-up to play enterprising and attacking football on the night.

However, every one of the Clever Boys' four goals featured at least one defensive mistake on the part of the visitors, who were brutally punished by their Johannesburg rivals.

The Buccaneers' defensive woes were compounded by a midfield which did not know its function.

The opening goal of the match came after Bucs conceded an unnecessary foul by Musa Nyatama on the edge of the box and Deon Hotto scored from the resultant free-kick.

Wits' second goal followed after Mokwena's men had lost possession in midfield and a quick counter led to a goal by Mxolisi Macuphu.

Cole Alexander, who is known for his ability to shoot from range, was afforded time and space to unleash a thunderous long-range shot which beat Pirates goalkeeper Joris Delle hands down to make it 3-2 to Wits.

Furthermore, the goal which proved to be the difference between the two teams came after the Pirates defence was exposed on the left-hand side and Phathutshedzo Nange finished with aplomb.

Motshwari Matters

Ben Motshwari, Orlando Pirates, February 2019

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Pirates missed the industrious Ben Motshwari in midfield as he usually breaks up attacks with tackles and interceptions, while also turning defence into attack.

Mokwena and his technical team will be hoping the injured player makes a speedy recovery as he is usually the glue which holds Pirates together.

The PSL title-winning midfield maestro is expected to return from an ankle injury by the end of this month with Bucs scheduled to face Cape Town City in a league clash on Saturday, September 28.