Barker confident Stellies will beat Bucs to the second spot

Fight for the CAF berth goes down to the wire

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Patrick Maswanganyi of Orlando Pirates couldn’t help his team overcome stubborn TS Galaxy on Saturday.
Patrick Maswanganyi of Orlando Pirates couldn’t help his team overcome stubborn TS Galaxy on Saturday.
Image: Dirk Kotze

Orlando Pirates' chances of qualifying for the CAF Champions League  now look very slim after losing 1-0 to TS Galaxy at Mbombela Stadium over the weekend.

It was Pirates' second defeat on the trot, having lost by a similar scoreline at home to relegation-battling Richards Bay the previous weekend. Pirates' rivals in the race to finish second, Stellenbosch, also lost 1-0 to champions Mamelodi Sundowns in a synchronised tie.

However, Stellies remain second on the log, separated by a point with third-placed Pirates.

Sphiwe Mahlangu scored Galaxy's goal that sank Pirates, while Lesiba Nku netted for Sundowns against Stellies. Iqraam Rayners missed a penalty in the first half for Stellies.

Pirates host a tricky SuperSport United side, who beat them 3-1 in the first round of the season, in their last league game of the term on Saturday, while Stellies simultaneously wrap up their campaign by facing Bay away. 

Before facing Sundowns, Stellenbosch had also been humbled by Moroka Swallows, who beat them 2-0 the previous weekend. Now Stellies coach Steve Barker knows that they can't afford a third successive defeat if they are to finish second, sounding bullish about beating Bay.

"I don't think we can get three lifelines in three weeks, so it's our responsibility next week to win a football match against Richards Bay which would then turn out to be a really, really incredible season for us. It's still in our own hands,'' Barker said.

Barker also rued the penalty Rayners missed against the Brazilians, feeling they at least deserved a point at Danie Craven Stadium. "Obviously, the penalty miss is massive...

"I mean against a team of their [Sundowns'] calibre, you don't get too many opportunities, so when you do get an opportunity from a penalty spot and you don't score, already the tough task becomes even tougher,'' Barker said.

"I am a bit disappointed that we weren't able to get at least a point. I thought it was a good football match. It was a really good tactical battle."

Weekend results

Cape Town City 3, Richards Bay 1; Sekhukhune 0, AmaZulu 1; Royal AM 0, Chippa 0; TS Galaxy 1, Pirates 0; Arrows 1, Spurs 1; SuperSport 2, Swallows 0; Chiefs 0, Polokwane 0; Stellenbosch 0, Sundowns 1

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