Downs v Bucs: Title-credentials tested

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A match between Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, is mouthwatering, unpredictable and full of drama. Hence, the next dose of the Soweto v Tshwane showdown, promises fireworks, goals and drama.

The two teams (Downs v Bucs) will wrestle each other today (15:00) at Orlando Stadium, with bragging rights, 3 points and log position at stake. FARPost’s Technical Study Group (TSG) unravels the anticipated technical-tactical possibilities of this match.

1. Downs tactical blueprint

The defending DStv Premiership champions have a distinct tactical blueprint. Juicy, patient and structured possession scheme, remains a hallmark of Sundowns approach.

An adaptable 1-4-3-3 attacking style has been synonymous with this Downs side. The second phase of their build-up play is carefully engineered by Rivaldo Coetzee, and ably supported by a more rejuvenated Andile Jali.

2. Technique, movement and goals

The brilliance of the attacking players has been magnificent. Themba Zwane and Gaston Sirino plays in and out of the wing, encroach the attacking half-spaces and has the tactical freedom to play anywhere in the opposition defensive third.

Peter Shalulile’s movement in-front, on the edge of the defensive line and behind the defenders has been poetic and deadly. Both set of Sundowns fullbacks are capable of overloading the wide areas and drift inside (underlap) when required.

3. Industrious Pirates

Over the last 3 seasons Pirates play has been marked by a brave, industrious and quick attacking approach. Pirates applies a radical but conservative 1-4-2-3-1 / 1-4-3-3 attacking system.

Critical to this tactical approach is the industrious and penetrative intentions of Vincent Pule and Kabelo Dlamini. Pule is slowly discovering himself with 1v1 dribbling, inside movements and shot-taking instincts. Dlamini is a silent-killer blessed with a variety of passes (short, long and diagonal) and sudden presence in the box.

4. MM combination

Previously the Pirates midfield corridor were paraded and guided by Thabang Monare and Ben Motshwari. With Monare injured and Motshwari swallowed by his personal challenges, another double MM (Goodman Mosele and Abel Mabaso) have emerged.

Besides providing a tactical shield to a porous and jittery defensive line of Happy Jele and Thulani Hlatswayo, the pair have added goals to their playing attributes. MM (Mosele and Mabaso) combines intelligence, correct positional play and late-movements in the opposition penalty area.

5. Title credentials

Sundowns are the early pacesetters with 10 points from a possible 12. Pirates are in the mix with 8 points and sit 2 points adrift of the champions.

The league is a marathon, but an emphatic win against other potential title-contenders will surely spur both (Downs and Bucs) to aim for the jugular.

By FARPost Technical Study Group