PRE MATCH FOCUS – Al Ahly vs Orlando Pirates Football Club

Orlando_pirates_fans_6This Sunday sees the second leg of the CAF Champions League 2013 final between Al Ahly and Orlando Pirates. The first leg finished 1-1 with Pirates scoring the equalizer with virtually the last kick of the game. The second leg will take place at the Arab Contractors Stadium in Cairo with Al Ahly hoping that home support will help them retain their title.

We took a look at the stats of the first leg in the hope that this might give us an indication of what we can expect in Sunday’s game. Whilst Pirates have already played Al Ahly in Cairo during the group stages, emerging with a 3-0 victory, this game will be considerably different.

In the first leg, Pirates had more than double the number of shots on goal (18 vs 8)  and also enjoyed 55% of total ball possession and an impressive 61% of live-ball possession. We saw from the stats that Pirates had far more of the ball and went on the attack much more than Al Ahly. Even though Pirates were involved in 141 attacking, compared to 78 for Al Ahly, 88 of them were considered low quality and only 3 were actually considered high quality.

Of the 18 shots taken by the Bucs, only 5 were dangerous. Al Ahly had 8 shots on target with 4 being dangerous. In line with Pirates having increased possession, they forced Al Ahly into giving up possession on 32 occasions. Unfortunately, only 22% of these resulted in dangerous events. During the match, Pirates crossed the ball on 37 occasions but only 5% of these led to dangerous events. Al Ahly, on the other hand, only crossed the ball 8 times but 12% led to dangerous events.
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It was clear that Al Ahly went into this game with a defensive game plan with the hope of catching Pirates on the counter and making use of set pieces. This allowed Pirates to dominate possession although they rarely translated this possession into a dangerous situation. Al Ahly, on the other hand, had 17 counter attacks during the match and had 9 set pieces of which 5 were dangerous and one led to their goal from a free kick.

Had Pirates made more of their possession, they could have gone into the second leg with a huge advantage as it turned out, Al Ahly now have a vital away goal. One would imagine that Al Ahly will not allow Pirates to see as much of the ball in the second game and that could have a huge impact on the outcome of the match.

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