Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
19 Jul 2021
5:11 pm

Three things Chiefs might have gotten wrong in Champions League final

Sibongiseni Gumbi

It was a great effort for the Naturena side to make it to the final with a thin squad that they have.

Kaizer Chiefs players react in disappointment after defeat to Al Ahly in the 2021 CAF Champions League Final at the Mohamed V Stadium in Casablanca, Morocco on Saturday. (BackpagePix)

It is now done and dusted, Kaizer Chiefs failed in their bid for the Caf Champions League title, losing 3-0 to Al Ahly in the final on Saturday night.

ALSO READ: Chiefs lost, so what’s next now? Baxter explains

It was a great effort for the Naturena side to make it to the final with a thin squad that they have.

They did however have a great shot at the title as they were the underdogs and had used that to their advantage in the earlier rounds of the competition. There were however three things that Phakaaathi picked that Chiefs may have gotten wrong in the Champions League final.

Here is a closer look at them:

Formation and system: Since the quarter finals, Chiefs had adopted a defensive approach where they locked the back door and only attacked when an opportunity availed itself. This worked against Simba SC in the away leg and in both legs against Wydad Athletic.

But for the final, Chiefs became more adventurous with three attacking players starting. But they didn’t have a proper link between the defence and attack and the three up front were left with nothing much to do.

The only time they were fed the ball was in the 16th minute when Willard Katsande’s long ball found Reeve Frosler on the left and he set it up for Samir Nurkovic to take a shot which was saved.

Being thin in defence meant they couldn’t afford to do man-marking which should have been done to the likes of Mohamed Sherif who ended up having time and space to run into the defence and cause trouble.

The youngsters: the younger players had been used sparingly in the knockout stages of the competition as the team adopted a defensive approach. In the Champions League quarter finals second leg against Simba, only Reeve Frosler and Njabulo Blom started the match. And the instruction was simple: to keep the opponent away. But in the Caf Champions League final they were expected to go on breaks and they just disappeared. They were joined in the starting XI by Nkosingiphile Ngcobo and Happy Mashiane who cracked under pressure and just sank.

Changing the defence: In previous outings, Chiefs had used five defenders with man-markers like Yagan Sasman being entrusted with ensuring the dangerous wingers did not get time to send in crosses. But in the final they went for a 4-3-3 formation which left the wingbacks exposed. The pressure of not doing anything for almost 45 minutes mounted on Mashiane who ended up committing an unfortunate foul that earned him a red card.