Coach Jose Riveiro during the Orlando Pirates media day on August 24 2023 at Rand Stadium.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
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Orlando Pirates coach José Riveiro has strongly urged his players not to underestimate Comoros side Djabal FC during the return leg of the first preliminary round of the Caf Champions League at the Orlando Stadium on Friday. 

The Buccaneers head into this clash with a slender 1-0 advantage from the first leg last week that was secured through a last gasp goal by striker Zakhele Lepasa. 

Looking ahead to the return leg, Riveiro pointed out it is not going to be easy against the Indian Ocean minnows who fought gallantly at home to stay in the tie. 

“I can bet with you that it is not going to be easy and this is because of my experience of a few days ago,” Riveiro as they wrapped up their preparations at Rand Stadium on Thursday. 

“I have this feeling in my stomach that on Friday we are going to compete because we are playing at home. We don’t care so much about the name of the opponent, we go game by game and we have tried to play our best game every time so far this season.  

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“After the game we can speak about whether it was easy or not but no one knows what is going to happen before the game. I don’t think two weeks ago anybody expected we were going to be beat Sekhukhune United by such a big margin, but you can speculate about how easy or not a game is going to be. 

“We went to the Comoros not knowing much about our opponents but they could easily analyse us from our games last season and that makes things very difficult nowadays. 

“The opponent can prepare very well for the game if they have the time and the capacity, so we will never underestimate an opponent.” 

Riveiro said a 1-0 lead is dangerous and they could be punished if they don’t have the right attitude. 

“It is not going to be easy for obvious reasons, it is a knockout game and the advantage is not that big that we can say this is already done. We are going with a 1-0 advantage against a well organised team who are athletic and are physically strong. 

“They were able to contain us at some stages in the first game, but we know what we want, we know what kind of performance we want to develop on Friday. 

“The result is going to be a consequence of that and we will never face a game in general thinking like that. Maybe 20 years ago but nowadays the difference between teams is closer and if you are sleeping you are out and this is not an exception.” 

Pirates captain Innocent Maela said there is always pressure to deliver the goods at the club. 

“For a big team like ours, pressure to deliver will always be there and I believe we are more than capable of dealing with it. We are a squad of quality players and the most important thing is to support each other. 

“Whether you are starting a match or playing from the bench, we are all playing a role and we have a long season ahead of us. The most important thing is to trust and respect the decisions that are being made.” 

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