Telkom Caught Out
GRA’s high press and physical play caught Telkom out. There were unable to string more than three or four passes before giving away possession. GRA were successful in making the pitch narrow, denying Telkom space and minimizing options for a player in possession. Telkom are not used to this as most teams in the Women’s Premier League tend to drop off and give them time and space with the ball.
Telkom were able to counter this with quick passes to change play from one wing to another but unfortunately, despite the good work to get out of the high press, the players in space took too much time with the ball which gave GRA ample time to restructure and apply pressure once again.
While GRA employed a highly intensive press, Telkom were effective in cutting off passing lines and were able to collect most balls aimed at GRA’s forwards.
Mwangi Isolated and Cynthia exposed
Experienced forward Jackie Mwangi was isolated for most parts of the game and service to her was very poor. She was quite often forced to come deep to collect the ball leaving the forward lines without options.
Despite GRA dominating most parts of the game, Telkom were able to soak pressure and fend off most GRA’s dangerous attacks. However the Telkom’s defenders often left their goalkeeper, Cynthia, exposed and she had to work harder to keep her team in the game. She made save after save and it’s no doubt that overall, in this tournament, she deserved the best goalkeeper award.
GRA lacked composure when needed
GRA were able to carve out many chances but instead of taking their time, players rushed their shots, thus being blocked by a defender, hitting the goalie or missing the target entirely. In retrospect, Telkom did defend in large numbers; they employed an ultra-defensive strategy, which involved defending with nearly their entire team.
There were a few times when GRA managed to get a player free inside the circle. This strategy bore fruit as Roberta Sarfoa, reacted quickly to slot home a rebound shot from Opoku.
Overall it was a good match to watch – a tight encounter, chances were at a premium & a tactical delight to savour!