Where have Orlando Pirates been getting it wrong in their cup exits?
Posted: 28 January 2019 Time: 19:30
Orlando Pirates have invested extensively in their football philosophy and game model since the arrival of Milutin Sredojevic at the start of last season, but is their focus perhaps amiss?
Following an abysmal 2016/17 campaign, in which Pirates ended an all-time-low 12th place in the Absa Premiership, it was no surprise that the club took drastic measures to seek improvement.
The arrival of ‘Micho’, along with the homecoming of the prodigal son Rhulani Mokwena, led to an unmistakeable revival of the Soweto giants as they ended second behind eventual champions Mamelodi Sundowns last season.
Missing out on the title was by no means a disappointment given the club’s massive 10-place rise in the new technical team’s very first season at the helm, but it also opened the door for growing expectations.
However, the Buccaneers have since fallen short in all three domestic cup competitions this season – including the final of the Telkom Knockout – through sudden-death penalty kicks.
This has given rise to a pertinent question: whether this could be due to simple misfortune or possible over-elaboration in open play?
A glance back at their MTN8 final defeat to SuperSport United in August shows Pirates should have wrapped the match up in regulation time with 20 shots at goal, but they somehow only managed four on target.
In their Telkom Knockout final defeat to Baroka in December, they again fired 22 shots, but more than 70 percent were wayward of the mark. And similar percentages were again registered against Black Leopards in the Nedbank Cup over the weekend – despite boasting the services of a finishing coach.
Recently, in their 1-1 Absa Premiership draw at home to Bakgaga, Sredojevic's charges managed merely two shots on target out of an attempted 20.
While the problem may well be the lottery of a penalty shootout, Pirates’ Achilles heel has also been their accuracy in front of goal – when it mattered most – as well as trying to reflect their possessional dominance of nearly 60 percent across their three cup defeats onto the scoreboard.
Have your say! Should Pirates focus firstly on winning before playing attractive football?