By Michael Madyira
Orlando Pirates have registered three successive defeats across all competitions — yet they’ve managed to get through to the MTN8 final.
After succumbing to a 1-0 loss to Stellenbosch in the MTN8 semi-final, second-leg at home on Sunday, Pirates advanced to the final on the away goals rule after a 2-1 first-leg victory.
Before that, they had lost 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns in a Premier Soccer League match and also fell 1-0 to Jwaneng Galaxy in the second preliminary round of the CAF Champions League.
“It’s three defeats in a row, it’s not frequent,” Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro told the media.
“We lost but we have the team in the final and that’s what counts in the end.
“I don’t take it as a defeat even though in the record it’s going to be like it is a defeat.”
After a terrific start to the season, goals seem to have dried up on Zakhele Lepasa while Patrick Maswanganyi and Monnapule Saleng have also been struggling in attack. Without a single goal between them in their last three games, the pressure is now on to find the back of the net.
They’ll have to find some form if they want to play in the Champions League this season. They have a mountain to climb after succumbing to a shock 1-0 defeat to Botswana giants Jwaneng Galaxy last Sunday in the first leg of the cup’s second preliminary round.
They have the chance to turn their fortunes around for the second leg on Friday.
“Even though, like I said, on Friday if we manage to get a result that we need [against Galaxy], it’s fine we will go through,” said Riveiro.
“What I’m trying to say is that we still have the chance to go to the group stage if we play a good game on Friday.
“It’s in our hands. We are going to do it here at home. I’m a very optimistic person and everything is going to be alright.”
It is the first time for Riveiro coaching in the elite continental competition.
Pictured above: Monnapule Saleng taking on Stellenbosch defenders
Image source: Orlando Pirates