Soweto Derby a real crackerjack

2010-11-15 00:00

AFTER a period where it had the look of a tired old, battered and bruised buffalo, the Soweto Derby sprung to life like a young gazelle on Saturday with Kaizer Chiefs’ compelling 3-1 Premier Soccer League victory against Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium.

As so often happens in derbies Amakhosi upset the form book, and most pundits’ predictions, and in a fashion that was reminiscent of the heyday of one of Africa’s biggest derby matches.

Inspired by mesmeric Zimbabwean Knowledge Musona, Chiefs overwhelmed Pirates with a stylishness that has been their hallmark this season, along with a crispness and sharpness in their play, and correctness of its execution.

Musona set up one goal and scored two for Chiefs. Pirates did themselves no favours with defensive errors playing a part in all three strikes, but these mistakes were also as a result of Amakhosi’s concerted pressure.

The Buccaneers fought back in the last 20 minutes, with Nigerian striker Ezenwa Otorogu making a difference and scoring a well-struck 76th goal, which turned out to be nothing more than a consolation.

Both teams’ improved form in 2010/11 has injected new life into the derby, and Saturday’s fourth meeting of the season was the best yet, watched by a 75 000 crowd. Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic said he was pleased the four-goal derby had silenced critics.

“I’m very happy I saw three goals from my side, especially because it was a derby. Some guys said before that both of us [Vermezovic and Bucs counterpart Ruud Krol] play boring derbies, but this time the derby was not boring.

“I have to congratulate my players for a nice game and I would like to say thanks to our supporters who filled this beautiful stadium more than two-thirds,” Vermezovic said.

The coach predicted a bright future for Musona, though cautioned Chiefs’ supporters not to expect too much from the Zimbabwean this season.

“I can’t say Musona will be the top scorer this season, but he is a good player and a good scorer,” the coach said. “But I think this season will be more difficult for him than the last one, because now everybody knows him.”

Musona robbed the ball from Pirates captain Lucky Lekwathi in the sixth minute and played a square pass across goal that was turned into his own net by Bucs midfielder Daine Klate.

The early goal set the tone for the match. It also destroyed the confidence of star left wing Klate and defender Lekgwathi, who both never recovered.

In the 41st minute Musona streaked past Legwathi and was tripped by the Bucs skipper, with the referee pointing to the spot. Musona stepped up and calmly slotted past Moeneeb Josephs.

In the 60th minute Bucs defender Rooi Mahamutsa attempted a headed back-pass that Musona got a touch to ahead of Josephs, then headed in for Amakhosi’s third.

Krol lamented the defensive mistakes made by his side.

“Chiefs penalised us through our mistakes. Of course when we were 2-0 down we still had a chance, but we made a mistake like that in defence and that must not be happening.

“You saw their third goal — the ball bounces and the defender [Mahamutsa] wanted to head it back to our goalkeeper, but the gap was too big. Maybe there was no right communication. It was mistakes on basic things, but we will try to make it better.

Krol said that the defeat has brought Pirates back down to earth after a lot of media hype surrounding his team following their MTN8 final victory last month, and then back-to-back 3-0 league defeats of Ajax Cape Town and SuperSport United.

“We are back on the ground … it was ‘hallelujah, hallelujah’ in the newspapers and television when they said we were doing well, but you must do it in the field.

“You can’t live with what they are saying on TV and newspapers, all the compliments. You must do it in the field and it didn’t happen for us.”

Both sides now turn their attention to the weekend’s Telkom Knockout semi-finals. Chiefs meet Santos in Polokwane on Saturday night and Pirates play Maritzburg United at Chatsworth Stadium the following day.

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