In quiet a pedestrian fashion, Spurs strolled past a passive and submissive Pirates to surrender the match without much fight. To actually hand it over in a silver platter, the Bucs could not even convert the soft penalty they were given at scores still 2-0.
It must be said that the match officials were very dubious to the extent of confusing the visitors themselves, who got so many questionable decisions that included the free-kicks and yellow cards leading to the first goal. The final nail in the coffin was the suspiciously offside decision not given to punch the air out of the Pirates lungs, that led to the second.
As the match seemed out of reach for Pirates, the coach pressed panic buttons, throwing in a lot of rusty generals and untried forces. While the was an obvious energy in the team as evidenced by the pressure that resulted in the penalty, lack of maturity became obvious. In fact, the Happy People had fewer options as Happy Jele was shut out on the right. Even Thulasizwe Mbuyane was a shadow of himself missing glaring chances to score.
The amazing lack of urgency in attack was worrisome. Julio Cesar Leal, Orlando Pirates coach should have rotated his protagonists in previous matches. He suddenly threw in a few faces after leaving his troops exposed by lack of game control. The last few minutes played by Lucas Thwala and the game could have made it worthwhile if the match was eventually won.
As for Senzo Meyiwa, it never ceased to amaze even Rafael van der Vaart. From the same spot, the same kick came the same goal. It is usually said once beaten twice shy. There is no African equivalent for the saying I guess. Actually, we say that when lightning strikes, it leaves eggs. It is these eggs that the bolt will come back for. Sizwe is just a victim of his Africanness.
Daine Klate ran and ran but the decision-making was always a shade slow. This was the same for the trusted generals like Jali and Manyisa. Through balls that Segolela usually thrives on were like a knee of female lice. Segolela ended up taking a penalty. I would have put money on my friend’s grandma converting than Tlou. This how unconfident Pirates were. The usually charismatic stylist, Mayambela came in a little late. Given his contribution, the applause he got on coming in is worth as refund. He ran marvelously with the ball, beating a few players before giving away possession with the same ease.
The match itself was really a dull affair if one watched how Kaizer Chiefs were made to look like headless novices two days back. If Pirates will want us to believe they are fatigued, we are not buying it. Without too much recovery between the gruelling semi-final on Tuesday, Cesar Leal is genius enough to have come up with a team worthy of putting a performance worthy of the ABSA Premier League champions.
For their part, Modric, van der Vaart, Bale and Gomes, should some glimpses of the UEFA Champions League performances we saw last season. Spurs were a gear up as compared to the previous matches they played against Pirates and Chiefs. Initially, they were unsure until two gifted goals. It is then that we saw their quality.
In strong football language, they did not waste a joule of energy on any unnecessary attack or defense. They were totally energy and performance efficient that they only did what was necessary and no more. It must be said that they could have scored a few more. Jermaine Defoe and Peter Crouch were a shade slow while Pienaar and Bongani Khumalo enjoyed a lot of support from the fans and fellow players.
At the end of the day, it was more of Chiefs fans celebrating as opposed to the sad faces of the Happy People.