De Sa remains optimistic
Roger de Sa (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Despite having to come from a goal down to salvage a 1-1 draw against Al-Ahly in the first leg of the Caf Champions League final on Saturday night, Orlando Pirates coach Roger De Sa believes his team has what it takes to claim the title.
"We still have a fighting chance going to Egypt," De Sa said at Orlando Stadium after the game.
"We showed much needed character tonight and we believe we can turn things around in Egypt.
"It’s going to be very difficult there’s no doubt about it, but we’ll go there to win and we have the character to turn it around."
Thabo Matlaba scored an equaliser in the last minute of additional time, after Mohamed Aboutrika had put the visitors ahead early in the first half with a devastating free-kick.
But the Buccaneers, who were made to dig deep, never gave in and gave themselves a fighting chance ahead of next weekend’s second leg decider in Cairo.
"Throughout the 90 minutes we kept on trying, we tried to be patient and build up the way we know how to," De Sa added.
"We didn’t just kick the long balls -- it was good that we didn’t lose our heads."
With the final played over two legs, both home and away, Ahly head home with a slight advantage, having scored an away goal, but the Buccaneers will fancy their chances, thanks to Matlaba's late heroics.
Shifting his attention to the away encounter in the Egyptian capital, De Sa said he was optimistic that the Sea Robbers could score a second goal, pointing out that Pirates enjoyed playing on attack.
"We are not a team that just sits at the back," he said.
"We play very offensively and are trying to get our attacking midfielders to join the attack and be offensive and use our wingers as wingers not wide midfielders.
"We try to play attacking football because that’s the way we know how to play."
The Soweto giants had already played Ahly twice in this year’s tournament prior to Saturday’s tie, having claimed a 3-0 victory in Egypt and a goalless draw in Soweto.