Luvuyo Memela scores past Itumeleng Khune of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at Soccer City, Soweto on 03 March 2018. Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Luvuyo Memela was kept on the bench as a tactical secret weapon‚ Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic has said after the forward came on and scored a brace in the Buccaneers’ 3-1 Soweto derby win against Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday.
Sredojevic said it had not been an easy decision to hold Memela‚ Pirates’ star performer in attack this season‚ back in a victory at FNB Stadium that saw Bucs keep in touch with Absa Premiership leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
Pirates are four points behind with seven games to go.
Sredojevic admitted Chiefs had edged the first half.
“I give credit to his (Chiefs coach Steve Komphela’s) team. They are a very well-coached‚ good team. They did their best‚” Pirates’ coach said.
“However‚ as he has mentioned the other day‚ as you will remember‚ in matches of this magnitude it’s impossible to dominate from the first to the last minute.
“You have a situation where the game comes in waves.
“Chiefs had their wave in the first half. We scored against the run of play‚ they did from a set piece.
“We have seen where we are leaking and lacking. With (Chiefs wingback) Joseph Molangoane coming in and (right centreback) Ramahlwe Mphahlele overlapping they overpowered us in the middle.
“With the introduction of here of present gentleman (Memela‚ sitting next to Sredojevic)‚ there is no bigger pride than what he can have in himself.
“It was not easy to put him on the bench . He has been one of our top three performers since January.
“But‚ you know a secret weapon keep close to your chest. Because it’s very important how you start the game‚ but the most important is how you finish it.
“He has shown that he is a top-class player. With the first touch of the ball he finished (Pirates’ second).
“And we can take an extreme amount of pride that against the best defensive team in the league we have really challenged ourselves and to score three goals against them is an achievement.
“Getting the three points against our rivals is the next achievement. ”
Pirates’ greater depth on the bench was a telling factor on Saturday.
Chiefs conceded a 21st-minute goal from a Willard Katsande defensive error‚ then equalised from Leonard Castro’s header from a free-kick (29th) to edge play in the first half.
Memela’s introduction from the break‚ scoring from his first touch in the 46th‚ then again in the 74th‚ along with some clever tactical changes from Sredojevic‚ saw Pirates emphatically own the second half for an ultimately convincing victory.