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Football AmaZulu FC DStv Premiership Nedbank Cup Orlando Pirates

Riveiro: It Was Tough Battle

  • April 20, 2024
  • 2 min read
Riveiro: It Was Tough Battle

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro said sending off Abubakar Mobara complicated things because AmaZulu adopted a more defensive approach.

Mobara received a red card in the 21st minute for a foul on Patrick Maswanganyi outside the box. It appeared the former Ajax Cape Town player exchanged harsh words with the referee, leading to the dismissal despite a clean tackle.

Usuthu then retreated deep and defended valiantly to frustrate Pirates. However, Tshegofatso Mabasa provided the answer, scoring the decisive goal from close range in the second half.

The victory moved Pirates to second place in the DStv Premiership table with 40 points, level with Stellenbosch who have a game in hand (playing on Sunday).

“It was a real battle tonight,” Riveiro told SuperSport TV after the game.

“I don’t think we started well. AmaZulu looked comfortable on the field, and it was an even contest (before the red card).

“It’s difficult to play against 10 men. I’d rather play with 11 because it’s much more complicated to find space and maintain continuity due to the interruptions. Obviously, the opponents need to disrupt the rhythm as much as they can.

“I think the AmaZulu players did a fantastic job. They managed to create some chances despite playing a long period with only 10 men. Credit to them and credit to my players for finding a way to win the game.”

To break through AmaZulu’s resolute defense, Pirates introduced Monnapule Saleng, last season’s Players’ Player of the Season. Saleng set up Tshegofatso Mabasa, who slotted home from close range in the second half.

“In these situations against a low block, patience is key,” he said.

“We showed patience and needed to stay calm. I’d like to be calmer in the future because there were some moments where we rushed things a bit. However, I think Karim (Kimvuidi) and Saleng provided more threat in one-on-one situations and with second-line runs.

“AmaZulu were also quite aggressive going forward, which left some spaces in transition, and that was key for us in the last 25-30 minutes.”

This was the second time these two teams faced each other in a week. Last weekend, Pirates defeated Usuthu 4-2 in the Nedbank Cup quarter-final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

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