Orlando Pirates

Gabadinho Mhango of Orlando Pirates does a backflip after scoring the 2nd goal during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 football match between Chippa United and Orlando Pirates at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Port Elizabeth on 01 February 2020 ©Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates news: Scoring early paying off for the Buccaneers

First-half dominance has been the secret to Orlando Pirates’ recent success.

Orlando Pirates

Gabadinho Mhango of Orlando Pirates does a backflip after scoring the 2nd goal during the Absa Premiership 2019/20 football match between Chippa United and Orlando Pirates at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Port Elizabeth on 01 February 2020 ©Deryck Foster/BackpagePix

The inability to close out games was the theme for Orlando Pirates not so long ago. Since they have improved on that aspect of their game, victories have come pouring in.

The Buccaneers jumped up to second in the league standings on Saturday, gaining some distance from where they were prior to the end of the year.

First-half dominance pays off for Orlando Pirates

During the first half of the season, Pirates were plagued by costly defensive lapses, which denied them three points on a few occasions, most notably against Baroka – where they squandered a a two-goal lead in the last ten minutes of the game to settle for a draw – as well as their recent fixture against Bloemfontein Celtic, who also scored late to force a stalemate.

Since that game against Phunya Sele Sele, the Buccaneers have won five straight games – the latest being a 2-1 victory over Chippa United on Saturday, where Vincent Pule was named man of the match.

Upon receiving his award, the Bafana midfielder said managing early leads was paying off for Pirates.

“We knew that it was going to be difficult, an away game is always difficult,” Pule told SuperSport TV after the game.

“But we had to pass the ball around. Fortunately, we got two goals early and I think it’s working for us to score early.”

Vincent Pule

All five of their most recent victories came under new coach, Josef Zinnbauer, whose only blemish since taking over seven fixtures ago was in the 1-1 draw against Celtic.

Pule lauded the German on how he has encouraged the team to express themselves.

“But we have to defend well and stay compact. And I think it’s working for us.”

Vincent Pule

Maintaining the momentum

In their five-match winning streak, Pirates have notched up 11 goals, with all but one coming in the first half.

The main contributor has been Malawian striker Gabadinho Mhango, who has six goals in the last five matches, and Pule believes it’s now up to the team to maintain their winning momentum.

“We know we have to work hard, we have to continue with what we have now. We have to keep going, it’s good now, we won six [five] games in a row. It’s working for us, we work hard and we keep on going.”

Vincent Pule

On his personal performance, Pule said he was happy to contribute to the team.

“I have to work hard for the team, no matter where I play, I need to work hard and do it for the team. Personally, it’s all about the badge, it’s not about me. I have to do the job for the team. “We take it one game at a time and we keep on going.”

Vincent Pule

Pirates now take a break from league action ahead of their Nedbank Cup first-round clash against Wits.

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