7 talking points from Bucs/Downs clash

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Orlando Pirates’s 1-0 win over Mamelodi Sundowns at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night produced a lot of talking points.

FARPost picks at least seven…

1. Ngcongca oh so unlucky 

Downs’s right back Anele Ngcongca was close to an opener after just 16 minutes, but saw his header come off the bar and Pirates survived the early scare. Downs, at this stage, were no doubt the dominant side and clearly were looking for an early goal to unsettle the hosts.

2. Watch out for Memela/Mhango combo

The interesting thing about Gabadinho Mhango’s goal after half an hour – which proved to be the winner, is realising his combination with Luvuyo Memela is starting to beat fruit. While Mhango is the one getting the plaudits for his goals, those watching from the stands and indeed the opponents, perhaps haven’t noticed the combination is of huge benefit for the Buccaneers. According to our stats provider Opta Jabu, “Memela & Mhango have combined for four goals in the four #AbsaPrem games since Zinnbauer’s first game at Pirates. Understanding.”

3. Jali taken off at halftime

AJ’s substitution at the break was a bit of a surprise, because he didn’t have a bad first half, but this was probably a tactical change considering Jali was on a yellow card for a foul on Memela just before the interval. Downs coach Pitso Mosimane was avoiding a situation where Jali got another yellow and ending up playing with 10 men.

4. Memela’s surprise sub

When Memela was taken off after 56 minutes the Bucs crowd appeared surprised because he had a decent game and created an assist for Mhango’s goal. Even teammate Thembinkosi Lorch was taken aback, judging by his body language as he approached Memela seemingly asking if he was indeed going off. But Thabiso Nonyane’s introduction did no harm as Bucs maintained their lead.

5. Kekana/Mhango incident…

Referee Victor Gomes is a different man in 2020. He’s not one to hesitate to use his cards and was expected to give Downs midfielder Hlompho Kekana at least a yellow card for throwing down Mhango after a nasty tussle for the ball, but after assessing Mhango, Gomes got the players to shake hands (sealed with a hug) and moved on.

6. Sirino’s strike oh so close!

Heading into this clash, Downs had remained unbeaten against Pirates in the League at Orlando since Mosimane took over the Brazilians in 2012. But when Gaston Sirino’s shot crashed against the upright towards the end, with Wayne Sandilands well beaten and eventually out of play, the writing was on the wall that it was Pirates’s day to finally beat the Tshwane side in Soweto.

7. Mosimane not impressed with Makaringe

Makaringe’s showboating impressed some supporters, but not the former Bafana Bafana coach (watch the video below courtesy of SuperSport TV.

By Tiyani wa ka Mabasa

at Orlando Stadium

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