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Riveiro On CCL Spot: Stellies Have Advantage

  • May 9, 2024
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Riveiro On CCL Spot: Stellies Have Advantage

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro may have narrowed the gap to Stellenbosch in the race for the coveted second-place finish that secures a CAF Champions League spot next season. However, Riveiro acknowledges that the advantage still lies with the Cape Town club.

Pirates secured a convincing 2-0 victory over Chippa United at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday, thanks to a brace from Tshegofatso Mabasa. This win propelled them to 49 points after 27 matches, just one point behind Stellenbosch with only three games remaining in the season.

Meanwhile, Steve Barker’s Stellenbosch side were held to a scoreless draw by AmaZulu at Danie Craven Stadium, allowing Pirates to capitalize with their win.

“Stellenbosch are still ahead of us by one point; that’s the reality,” admitted Riveiro. “They remain in control of their own destiny based on their performances and results. We must continue applying pressure and pushing as hard as possible to do our part. It will be a tight battle for both teams until the very end.”

This victory over Chippa marked Pirates’ seventh consecutive win, a feat achieved by only two other Pirates coaches in the PSL era: Augusto Palacios (2004) and Viktor Bondarenko (1999). During this winning streak, Pirates have displayed exceptional offensive prowess, scoring 21 goals while conceding only four.

“It’s a great competition,” acknowledged Riveiro, commending Stellenbosch’s performance. “They’re having an excellent season, and regardless of the final outcome, it’s been an exceptional campaign for them. As for us, we’ll keep striving to achieve our secondary objective, which is the highest possible finish at this point – the second spot.”

Riveiro emphasized the importance of a strong defense: “We’ll give it our all. Maintaining a solid defense and not conceding is crucial for a team with our attacking capabilities. It’s difficult for opponents to keep a clean sheet against us. When we don’t concede, it usually translates to three points. We’re currently ranked second in the league for goals scored (43), behind only Mamelodi Sundowns (47).”

“Obviously, we need everyone involved,” concluded Riveiro. “We need everyone performing at their best in every phase of the game, and the defensive phases are no exception.”

Picture courtesy of Orlando Pirates

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Nkanyiso Mchunu

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