League only trophy left for Orlando Pirates

Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer/Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer/Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

After crashing out of the Nedbank Cup at the hands of Bidvest Wits at the weekend, Orlando Pirates are in danger of ending their sixth season without a trophy, if they don't win the Absa Premiership.

Pirates, who last won a trophy with the same Nedbank Cup in 2014, bowed out of this year's edition after a 3-2 penalty shootout defeat to Wits in the first round at Orlando Stadium on Sunday. The encounter had finished 3-3 after extra-time.

Now, winning the league is Bucs' only option if they are to arrest their six-year trophy drought. The Sea Robbers are second on the standings on 36 points - nine behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs.

In the wake of their Ke Yona Cup elimination, Bucs mentor Josef Zinnbauer sounded unconvinced that Bucs are genuine title challenges, acknowledging the games in hand fellow candidates behind them have could see them toppled from the second spot.

"Now we have league games to play, we want to win as many as we can, but I cannot talk about our chances [of challenging Chiefs] because we have played more games than some teams [like Mamelodi Sundowns, who are two matches behind them and Wits, with five games in hand] behind us," Zinnbauer said.

"I have said this before, we need time, and we have to learn. But I am very proud of the team, the way they are responding to my system so far."

Goals from Thembinkosi Lorch and Happy Jele in the second half, cancelling out Wits' first-half strikes by Bienvenu Eva Nga and Deon Hotto, sent the game into extra time, where Gift Motupa's last-gasp strike invalidated what would've been the winner by Zakhele Lepasa, who had converted from the spot later in the extra-time's first stanza.

"When you concede two goals and come back then you go in front, normally you win that game," Zinnbauer reacted to what was his maiden defeat at Pirates after eight games, with six wins and a draw across the league and the Nedbank Cup.

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