Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer admits they have not capitalised on their opportunities since the start of the new year.
JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer cut a disappointed figure after his team were denied a penalty against Swallows FC during the “original Soweto derby” at home on Sunday, but concedes they should have capitalised on other opportunities.
With barely 20 minutes to go, Fortune Makaringe was brought down by Tlakusani Mthwetha inside Swallows’ penalty area. Referee Jelly Chavani blew his whistle.
But after some procrastination, which included consulting his assistant, he booked Makaringe for simulation.
Pirates, though, finally got their breakthrough with five minutes to go, Ben Motshwari thumping a loose ball just outside the box into Virgil Vries’ top corner. But Swallows didn’t drop their heads, with Kamohelo Mahlatsi equalising deep into stoppage time to snatch a point for his team.
Pirates were by far the better side in the second half, especially after the introduction of fresh legs, which included striker Gabadinho Mhango. But Zinnbauer suggested that had the penalty decision gone Pirates’ way it would have been the turning point.
“The weather was not ideal for playing football.
“It was very wet and sliding. It was not the best thing for us,” Zinnbauer said. “It was a difficult game against a very good opponent. In the second half we dominated the game and it was a clear penalty for me.”
Despite the referee’s decision going against them, Zinnbauer felt that Pirates had other opportunities to wrap up the encounter, citing when Deon Hotto was released by Thembinkosi Lorch with a through ball, only for Vries to intercept the effort with two sliding blocks.
“After the game, we can say that if we scored the penalty then we’d have won the game.
“That’s too easy,” Zinnbauer said. “But Hotto was completely alone and could have gone for a goal.
“It was too easy to score what Swallows scored. But we can’t change things. It is what it is.”
Pirates are winless this year. They lost their opening match of the New Year to leaders and champions Mamelodi Sundowns away from home before drawing with their neighbours on Sunday as they dropped to sixth on the Premiership standings with 14 points.
Much of Pirates’ problems this year have come after injuries to striking duo Zakhele Lepasa and Tshegofatso Mabasa during their 1-0 win over Chippa United late last year a few days after winning the first honours of the season, the MTN8.
In the last two domestic matches, Zinnbauer has been forced to start with a false No 9 up front in Terrence Dzvukamanja who has been ineffective compared to Lepasa and Mabasa. But Zinnbauer says the entire attacking department will have to come to the party.
“We cannot say that (we are not scoring) because Lepasa and Mabasa are not here.
“We have other strikers also,” Zinnbauer said.“I think Gaba (Mhango) had a good performance today. He was a bit unlucky with the shot that was close to the goals.
“We have to work in the next games also. We have a good team. We saw today because we had big chances to grab the three points, although we didn’t get them.
“I think, for me, it made me very upset. But in the next game, the strikers can score.”