Pirates feeling the pressure
Augusto Palacious (Gallo)
Johannesburg - After surrendering the lead at the summit of the Premiership table, with a 1-1 draw at Ajax Cape Town over the weekend, Orlando Pirates will be feeling the pressure when they take on a strong SuperSport United side, at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Tuesday.
The Buccaneers, with their solitary point in Cape Town, let slip a two-point cushion over Mamelodi Sundowns who joined the Soweto side on 49 points, but have a far superior goal-difference in their favour.
It means Pirates will have to win at all costs and hope The Brazilians falter in their last three games of the title race.
“With Pirates there is always pressure, so what you need to do is take it game by game,” said Pirates interim coach Augusto Palacious after his side's match against Ajax on Friday.
“There is no coach who can't say he is not feeling the pressure, for us each game is a final and every game is pressure.
“The next game against SuperSport United is going to be pressure again.”
Meanwhile SuperSport come off a critical 2-1 win over the 'other' Soweto giants, Kaizer Chiefs, on their home turf at FNB Stadium on Saturday, and carry good momentum into the clash.
SuperSport coach, Gavin Hunt said he did not read anything into Pirates dropping points in the Mother City.
“You've got to still favour Sundowns and Pirates with their squad of players,” said Hunt.
“Our squad is thin, but we'll keep going.”
The Pretoria-based side now lurk just one point adrift on 48 points, behind Sundowns and Pirates, and will be ready to pounce should either of the top sides drop points in their remaining fixtures.
Hunt said he was happy to be regarded as the underdogs as it relieved some of the pressure and said they were regarded in a similar light when they won the league two seasons ago..
“I was listening to the comments before we got here and people were saying we play ‘skop and donner’ football and I hear all these things and I’m happy with it because no one is giving us a chance,” he said.
SuperSport, if they win their last three games will end on 57 points, the same tally that saw them lift the title in the 2009/2010 season by a point from Sundowns.
“When we won the league no one expected us to win it, but we won it.
Hunt said that Matsatsantsa were prepared to win at all costs even if it was not attractive football.
“At the end of the day, it's not about how, it's about how many with three games to go, and that's what it's all about.”
His side earlier in the season were dominant and enjoyed a healthy lead at the top of the table, but now they will have to scrap it out and rely on other teams' results to lift the silverware.
“We should have won the league this year by a mile, we were eight points clear at one stage after twelve games and I thought we could plot and plan our way, but we lost our way a little bit.”
In the only other game on Tuesday evening Maritzburg United host AmaZulu at Harry Gwala Stadium.