AFTER three wins and four draws in their first seven matches of the Premiership, Pirates are one of the four undefeated teams this season.
ORLANDO Pirates are arguably the best team in the PSL this season, but coach Josef Zinnbauer has bemoaned his charges’ inability to kill off matches from the outset.
After three wins and four draws in their first seven matches of the Premiership, Pirates are one of the four undefeated teams this season. They are third on the league standings with 13 points, four behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
Sundowns have won five league matches and still have another match away to Golden Arrows before they wrap up the first half of the domestic season. But numbers and success show that Pirates are head and shoulders above their counterparts.
Pirates have had seven wins this season, four coming from their MTN8 triumph where they scored eight goals in four matches to walk away with the first bragging rights of the season and a cool cheque of R8 Million.
Even after winning the MTN8 Cup final against Bloemfontein Celtic last Saturday, Pirates proved that was not a fluke as they went on to defeat Chippa United 1-0 in a midweek league clash at home – thanks to a late Fortune Makaringe goal.
“After they conceded the red card, they sat in very deep. It’s then not easy to score. But you need a right moment. But if we scored early, then it will be an easy game for us,” said Zinnbauer.
“It’s always against a 10-man opponent who usually say, ‘we’ll fight for one point and we’ll run’. So definitely, 100%, they work harder than before. And then it’s not so easy for us. But then I’ll say it again, if we score early then it’s easy for us.”
In their last five matches, Pirates have either bagged a win or point by coming from behind or scoring at the death. Midfielder Makaringe was the hero against Chippa – after Tshegofatso Mabasa and Zakhele Lepasa left the pitch on stretchers after picking up injuries.
“It happened like the last time (we played SuperSport United) where we scored in the last minute, after we had to wait,” Zinnbauer said. “But it’s important that we win the game. We’ve done that. I am happy for Fortune, he had a good game. He worked well with and without the ball.”
The domestic season will come to a halt after the eighth round of matches this weekend for the Christmas break. But Pirates are in action on Tuesday, where they will play Sagrada Esperanca in the first leg of the final round of the Caf Confederation Cup preliminary qualifiers.
Having had a bye in the first round, Bucs will be away to the Angolan-based team first before playing as hosts early next year. Zinnbauer, who will be taking charge of his first continental game, knows that they face a tough task in their bid to qualify for the group stage.
“We have information about the club and team. We have some information about what we can do against them,” he said.
“We know it won’t be an easy game for us, considering that it’s an away game. We watched (them) with the coaches and analysers.”