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Riveiro Seeks Answers For Pirates’ Cup Success

  • April 15, 2024
  • 2 min read
Riveiro Seeks Answers For Pirates’ Cup Success

Orlando Pirates coach Jose Riveiro admits he’s baffled by his team’s knack for winning cup matches since his arrival.

Pirates found themselves behind against AmaZulu at the packed Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday, but roared back to claim a 4-2 victory and progress to the Ke Yona Cup semi-finals. The defending champions will now face Chippa United in the last four, scheduled for early next month.

The Soweto giants are chasing a historic double this season, having already retained their MTN8 trophy in October.

“I’d love to know the secret myself,” Riveiro said with a chuckle.

“These cup games are very different – it’s win or go home, there’s no second chance. There’s a different mentality compared to the league, where you can afford a slip-up and recover later.

“Unfortunately, my English is limited, and I can’t find the perfect word, but in the league, we sometimes relax. In cup games, we seem to find that rhythm from the start, even if we don’t always capitalize on our chances.

“One positive change recently is that we’re finally scoring in the first half, which was a problem for us last season and early this season. We were on the verge of going into halftime scoreless again on Saturday, but thankfully, we’ve been finding the net more often recently, which opens up the games for us.

“We feel comfortable in these knockout scenarios. Last season’s success probably instilled a lot of confidence in us, and we’re carrying that momentum into this season. We’re taking things step-by-step, and I’m happy to be in the semi-finals with this team. It’s also great for the fans.”

Pirates have been inconsistent in the league, sitting third with 37 points after 23 matches. They trail leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, who have two games in hand, by a significant 15 points.

“Let’s try to replicate this form in the league as well,” Riveiro urged his players.

Their next challenge will be a resurgent Chippa United, who haven’t beaten Pirates at home since 2016.

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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