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‘Downs Not Having Shot On Target Meant Nothing’

Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Richard Ofori has reacted to Mamelodi Sundowns not having a shot on target when these two sides met in the first leg of the MTN8 semi final.

However, as much as that was the case, Ofori says “it didn’t mean anything because we didn’t win the game”, but he was not surprised when he saw the statistics that Tshwane giants could not find a shot to trouble him.

A replica of note will be expected this coming weekend when Pirates visit Sundowns in the second leg of the Wafa Wafa Cup at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday, in what promises to be a blockbuster match.

Having built that first step to shut the star-studded Sundowns out without forcing a save from Ofori, Pirates need to apply the same approach where they will know a score draw will be enough for them to reach the final of the competition they won in 2020/22 season.

Sundowns are the defending champions after beating Cape Town City in the final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium to succeed Pirates last season, with the venue in Durban set to host the final of the top eight yet again on 5 November.

“When the two teams are doing things right, that is how the game goes,” said Ofori, who was part of Adidas’ Studio 88 store activation in Durban on Tuesday.

“But it doesn’t mean anything – we couldn’t win also, it doesn’t mean anything. For us we have to score to win every game.

“The draw was not our target so we need to win every game, and we are looking forward to games (including that of Sundowns).”

Pirates, for the longest time, have resorted to 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1 formation under Spanish coach Jose Riveiro in 14 matches now since the Spanish took over in June.

It worked against Sundowns, who are known to penetrate teams even those who have reinforced defensive structure and sitting in a low block.

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As every area on the pitch was covered, Sundowns also didn’t dominate the midfield, another area their captain Andile Jali usually commands, as he was taken off after the second half had started.

Phillip Ndlondlo gave him a hard time and at one point Jali was left on the floor with his backside up after Monnapule Saleng dropped his shoulder, which became a butt of jokes on social media.

“It depends on the opponents that we are facing,” said Ofori.

“Sometimes you can see it is three at the back, but as the game progresses, you see four at the back. So it depends on the opponents that we are playing against, we are not stuck in one system or formation. We are flexible.”

On the knee injury he picked up in the league match against AmaZulu last Friday, Ofori said: “I’m responding to the treatment very well, started training at the gym. Hopefully, everything will be fine on Saturday.”

Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala
Robin-Duke Madlala is iDiski Times' KwaZulu-Natal-based web journalist. Boasting extensive experience in the South African football landscape, Robin-Duke has previously worked for Kick-Off Magazine, Soccer Laduma, and Daily Sun and Sunday Sun. He specialises in breaking news and transfers around South Africa’s big clubs in KZN.