After 120 minutes of energy-sapping but entertaining football, the MTN8 quarterfinal between Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United in Nelspruit could have gone either way, said Bucs coach Roger de Sa.
“When it comes to penalties, it is a bit of a lottery, but I think we were deserved winners,” De Sa said after his team’s eventual 4-3 victory yesterday.
“This is exactly what we didn’t want after playing two games this week and 48 hours of travelling. Extra time was going to kill us, but you can’t ask for more from the players. They kept digging deep and did all the running.”
Substitute Lennox Bacela, who replaced the injured Collins Mbesuma in the first half, led the Pirates charge with a brace which saw them come from behind twice to force a 2-2 draw after 90 minutes.
The Pirates defence had a torrid time containing the 1.94 metres tall SuperSport striker Mame Niang and De Sa admitted the Senegalese player posed a threat each time he had possession.
“The big man upfront was a handful. It’s going to be very difficult to contain him, but we’ll have to come up with a way next time we play them.
“We dominated the game and the only time they threatened us was through the big guy.”
It was Niang who pressured Thabo Matlaba into scoring an own goal as they competed for a Thabo September throw-in, into the box, which the Bucs defender headed past his own keeper, Senzo Meyiwa.
SuperSport coach Cavin Johnson echoed De Sa’s words about the way in which the game was settled and expressed his disappointment at letting Pirates off the hook – twice.
“We led the game 1-0 and then 2-1, but they came back. You get to penalties and then it becomes a lottery. Good luck to Pirates, I think they played good football,” Johnson said.
“I don’t think my team played excellent football like we would like to play, but we are going through a change and that is difficult.
“Respect to Pirates. They have played five to six competitive games and we’ve played one.”
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