Pirates coach over the moon
Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates' coach Julio Leal said he was the happiest man in the world after his charges successfully defended their MTN8 title against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
"I'm the happiest man in the world with the players fighting the challenge and doing the job," said the Brazilian after the match, which was deadlocked at full-time.
The 1-0 win against their Soweto arch-rivals came courtesy of a scorching, extra-time strike from midfielder Oupa Manyisa, handing the Buccaneers their eighth top eight title.
"My squad was very committed and showed the spirit to win, so I'm happy," said Leal.
"We kept working hard and improved during the game.
"I didn't feel the pressure because I knew that we had committed players to win but we have to carry on working hard."
This was Pirates' first cup final win over Amakhosi - who have garnered a reputation of being the country's knockout competition specialists - since 1988.
Pirates have now won four of the five competitions on offer in the last year, having picked up the treble under coach Ruud Krol last season.
His Chiefs' counterpart Vladimir Vermezovic congratulated Pirates for their success while admitting his side had failed to show up on the night in search of an unprecedented 15th top eight title.
Chiefs suffered a lapse in concentration and their players backed away instead of closing the gap for Manyisa.
It was his second goal from a distance, having scored arguably the best goal in the tournament in his side's semi-final against Mamelodi Sundowns two weeks ago.
"We made one bad mistake to concede the goal," said Vermezovic.
"It was very tough but Pirates were a better team.
"I will not blame (Itumeleng) Khune. If you have 10 players that can't stop a player from scoring, then the keeper can't do anything about it.
"Having seen the match against Sundowns, the big mistake that our players made was anticipating a cross from Manyisa."
These two sides will meet again in a league encounter, set for the same venue, on Saturday, although they have midweek commitments before their second showdown.
Pirates play Santos at Orlando Stadium while Chiefs travel to Cape Town to line up against Ajax Cape Town, with both fixtures taking place on Wednesday night.
Chiefs top the Premiership standings carrying a 100% record after three rounds.