Cape Town - Golden Arrows coach Clinton Larsen has praised his players for their great performance against high-flying Orlando Pirates, despite losing the tie 4-1 at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
A brace from in-form Tendai Ndoro followed by goals from Luvuyo Memela and Issa Sarr handed Abafana bes'thende their 11th Premiership loss of the campaign, leaving them five points shy of the top-eight finish with only five games to go before the season ends.
The former Bloemfontein Celtic coach believes his team played well against the Buccaneers, considering the changes they had to make in the starting line-up ahead of the match.
"It's not very often that we can say well done to our boys after losing a match by four goals to one, but that's exactly what we said to the boys after the game," Larsen told his club's website.
"We went into this game without Bilankulu, Cele, Mngwengwe, Arwuah, Molefe, but still managed to put in a sterling performance, thanks largely to the efforts of some of our younger players.
"Ngcobo and Hlongwani who did well as did Sibiya and Sibeko, coming off the bench. Our young players have brought a breath of fresh air to the club, especially during this trying period where results have not been forthcoming.
"We were punished by an in-form Orlando Pirates for making crucial mistakes in critical areas. All four goals conceded were a result of making four individual errors defensively.
"These are hard lessons for our young players to learn but we are sure that they will.
"We dominated the second half before and after Masalesa's red card. We hit the upright and created several other opportunities and could easily have equalised had we taken our chances.
"There are many positives to take away from this game as we prepare for what is our cup final against Maritzburg on Wednesday."