You can see Orlando Pirates are getting tired‚ says coach Josef Zinnbauer
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer said his team’s increasingly flat performance against a classy ES Setif in their 1-1 Caf Confederation Cup draw at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday was a reflection of fatigue from a tough programme.
The draw left the Group A leaders watching the result of Al Alhi Benghazi and Enyimba late on Thursday night in Libya‚ where a draw or win to the Nigerians will see Pirates through to the quarterfinals. Failing that‚ Pirates will need a draw or win away to Enyimba on Wednesday to progress.
Zinnbauer said on then back of their fourth match in April‚ which followed gruelling travel and matches for international duty for most of Bucs’ starting players‚ some fatigue showed against aggressive Setif‚ who needed a win to preserve their realistic quarterfinal chances.
“This was not the best performance from us. But I have to say the opponents did not make it easy for us‚ especially against the ball with this aggressive defending‚” Zinnbauer said.
“This injury for ‘Mpontshie’ [goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane‚ who went off in the 22nd minute] broke the momentum a bit. The second half was the same. We tried to play‚ play‚ play‚ and then we had a big chance to score [by Tshegofatso Mabasa].
“After that chance my feeling was the team thought‚ ‘It’s easy‚ we can score against this team’. But it was not so‚ and Setif came more and more on the front foot and also had a big chance.
“At the end of the day it was not enough for the three points. I think it was the correct result.
“But I have to say that Setif had more time for rest. We had a big two games behind us. I think we could feel in the last minutes that Setif came more and more and we were a bit tired.”
Pirates lost 4-1 away to Mamelodi Sundowns in the DStv Premiership on Thursday and beat Maritzburg United 2-0 at home on Sunday.
Bucs have two more matches in April. They meet fifth-placed Swallows FC in what is sure to be a competitive Soweto derby against the fifth-placed promoted Premiership team‚ then travel to Nigeria.
Asked if the aggressive nature of Setif can stand as worthy preparation for the quarters‚ and perhaps further‚ in the Confed‚ Zinnbauer noted: “Yeah‚ but we have now lost a lot of players [injured] in African competition‚ and a lot of players when they went to the national teams.
“What you need now is to find the players with the best energy. We have played a lot of games in a row. And if you see the starting line-up‚ most of those players played 90 minutes in the previous games.
“But we’re looking forward to next week‚ and also to see the other result‚ because then maybe we can go a bit easier against Enyimba. But you also need a good result and performance there for the confidence‚ and also for first place.”
Pirates were the 2015 Confed Cup finalists‚ losing 2-1 on aggregate their to Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia.