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Qualifying for a place in the Champions League furthest thing from Pirates coach Zinnbauer's mind

26 April 2021 - 11:50 By mahlatse mphahlele
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer is under pressure despite having won the club the MTN8 earlier this season.
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer is under pressure despite having won the club the MTN8 earlier this season.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Qualifying for a place in the Caf Champions League next season is the furthest thing from Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer's mind as his charges continue to stutter their way to the finish line on the domestic front.

The Buccaneers are fourth on the DStv Premiership standings after 23 matches‚ have 39 points and trail log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns‚ who have played two matches less‚ by eight points.

Pirates dropped two valuable points in their 1-1 stalemate with Swallows in the original Soweto derby on Saturday where stand-in captain Thulani Hlatshwayo scored an own goal and Tshegofatsho Mabasa equalised late in the second half.

Besides worrying about trying to rein in leaders Sundowns‚ the Bucs now have to be wary of in-form AmaZulu and Lamontville Golden Arrows‚ who occupy the second and third places respectively‚ when the season hits what is expected to be an exciting run-in in the coming weeks.

“We take it from game to game.

“This was a good game for us and I think we deserved three points‚ but we can’t speak about the title or the Champions League‚” said Zinnbauer after the draw with Swallows.

“There is still a long way to go in the season and we need as [many] points as possible for our target.

“We will fight for it‚ but we [take it game by game]‚ and next week‚ and the next game is important for us.”

Though he was happy with the way they bounced back from an own goal to force a draw‚ Zinnbauer bemoaned the number of chances they wasted in the match.

“I think it was clear domination by us and you must remember their goal was an own goal.

“It was unlucky for us and we can safely say that if it wasn’t for that own goal they were not going to score.

“I think we completely dominated the game‚ even in the first half we had clear-cut chances from Deon Hotto‚ Vincent Pule‚ but their goalkeeper saved the ball.

“In the second half‚ it was the same story again with Tshegofatsho Mabasa and Fortune Makaringe with good chances and I don’t how many possibilities we had of scoring.

“Sometimes we were a little bit too late to shoot at goal from good positions‚ or the opposition goalkeeper made good saves.

“We deserved the three points again and I am happy with the performance‚ but I am not happy for the results.

“It is not easy to come back after an own goal‚ but we tried our best and you could see even the substitutes came on and brought the freshness.

“Mabasa scored the equalising goal for us and that is what we want to see from the team. They wanted the three points‚ but they were a little bit unlucky.”