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Soccer

Bucs boss worried about own goal plague

Pirates are hitting the net, but at the wrong end of the field

19 August 2018 - 00:00 By BARENG-BATHO KORTJAAS

Entertaining football is exciting.
But it remains an exercise in futility if it doesn't bag the three precious points.
Dominant possession percentages make for pleasing statistical reading.
But they are plain rubbish if that dominance does not reflect a positive score in the results column.
That's the story of Orlando Pirates right now. They play all the beautiful football yet have pretty little to show for all the admirable aesthetics.
Thus far coach Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic's soul-healing crusade has translated to sore hearts for the Ghost whose Sea Robbers have collected a mere four points from a possible nine - a 1-1 draw at home against Highlands Park), 1-0 win away to Chippa United and the 1-0 defeat by Wits at Orlando.
Mind you, four of those five points were dropped at home. That is the same turf where hoodoo team SuperSport United dumped Bucs out of the MTN8 competition. Fortress? What fortress?
Granted, it is early days still, but glory goes to those who make hay while the sun shines. For that, read Wits who have a 100% record of three wins that have propelled Gavin Hunt's students to the summit of the Absa Premiership standings.
Sides that fashion themselves as league championship chasers snatch points from those they consider fellow contenders.
In this regard, the Clever Boys are really beginning to build up a head of steam for their campaign and have claimed the scalps of Kaizer Chiefs and Bucs back to back.
Indeed, Wits were lucky to escape with more than a draw on Wednesday, courtesy of a Gladwin Shitolo own goal, the second in as many matches for the 28-year-old Giyani- born Jomo Cosmos academy product.
It is that misfortune, a bugbear if you like, of bulging their own net that Bucs will be looking to exorcise as Bloemfontein Celtic lie in wait at the Free State Stadium this afternoon at 3pm. Sredojevic's frustration, born out of the misfortune, is unmissable."When you look at everything, the way we conceded our first goal in the first match of the season and the way we have conceded this goal, you ask yourself why all of this?
"We have kept our concentration and the opponents didn't create any chances throughout the match. We dominated the match and felt we had enough to win the game, but unfortunately it was not meant to be," said the Serb.
Pirates drip with danger when they launch wave after wave of attack.
However, looking dangerous while lacking the killer instinct is as scary as a vegetarian lion. A stubborn rearguard of Mbhazima Rikhotso, Alfred Ndengane, Lorenzo Gordinho and Ronald Pfumbidzai, under the command of the last line of defence, goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb, has not been breached.
Those men in green and white will come up against a Bucs attack that hasn't shown immediate improvement from the teachings of Stephane Adam, the French specialist coach for finishing brought to sharpen the sharpshooters.
At the opposite end Happy Jele and co will have their hands full trying to contain Tshegofatso Mabaso, the 21-year-old centreforward who is a busy bee focal point of Celtic's forward forays.
Bloemfontein buzzes when he is on song. Bucs better beware. Mabaso was on target and provided an assist for Kabelo Dlamini's goal in the 2-0 win over Golden Arrows last week.
He also scored in the victory by a similar scoreline over Chippa United in their opening Absa Premiership fixture.Old Celtic boy Musa Nyatama has become the lynchpin of Pirates' progress, tirelessly pulling the strings in the engine room with the likes of Vincent Pule beneficiaries of his benevolent passing. Ndumiso Mabena will also come up against his former club. Pirates have the ingredients of a team capable of going one better than the bridesmaid finish of last season. Micho has been cooking up a storm.
The menu looks mouthwatering. It has whacked the appetite of the long-starving Ghost. They want entertaining football served on a bed of safe goalkeeping (Wayne Sandilands and Siyabonga Mpontshane will lose their place to a fit Brilliant Khuzwayo), a spicy midfield and washed down with a fountain of goals.
Komphela, though, will want to spoil that serving with a third win on the trot...

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