Zinnbauer: Pirates ‘coming closer now to the good places that we want’
Josef Zinnbauer hailed a big win against AmaZulu on Thusrady night as bringing his team closer to the “places we want” in the DStv Premiership.
The one place fourth-positioned Bucs really covet‚ though‚ which the coach did not mention directly in the wake of a 1-0 victory toughed put at Orlando Stadium‚ and Mamelodi Sundowns wrapping up a fourth-straight title this week‚ is Usuthu’s current second spot.
Gabadinho Mhango’s excellent 76th-minute free-kick earned Pirates a result that brought them back into the equation for the Caf Champions League-qualifying runners-up spot. Zinnbauer’s team inflicted a second defeat in succession for Benni McCarthy’s high-flying AmaZulu‚ who previously were unbeaten in 16 matches.
The Durban side’s speed wobble with two games and six points left to play for‚ and the Bucanneers coming to within four points with three games and nine points to play for‚ has seemingly opened up the race for second place.
“I think we were good in the game. I have to say‚ before I start with the explanation – AmaZulu have a good team and for us it was important that we got into the game quickly‚” Zinnbauer said afterwards.
“And the structure in the defence and in the offence was very good. They worked for each other for every metre that they could.
“And in the first half I think we came close to getting a first goal. In the second half we came out and I think in the first 10 minutes we had two good chances to score‚ but it was the final pass that was not 100 percent correct.
“But important for us in this game was the result. We know that we are coming closer now to the good places that we want at the end of the season.
“And before the game I said‚ ‘The performance is not so important today’. We had a big game three days ago [against Raja Casablanca]‚ and the conditioning was maybe out from some players after 60 or 70 minutes.
“And this was the reason I said to the players‚ ‘Go out and fight for the three points‚ fight for the supporters and fight for your club’.
“And they did this very well and I think we deserved to win the game. We were leading for most of the game. And we were playing forward‚ tried our best‚ and got the victory.”
Third-placed Lamontville Golden‚ also on 46 points but with a superior goal difference to Pirates‚ and with two games to play‚ are also in the equation for second place.
Third position is also important as that team goes into the Caf Confederation Cup‚ where Pirates reached the quarterfinals in 2020-21‚ losing 5-1 on aggregate there to Raja‚ including Sunday’s 4-0 second-leg humbling on Morocco.