Pirates hope to silence critics

2011-11-27 15:27

Durban - Orlando Pirates coach Julio Leal hopes his team's latest exploits will silence critics after the Buccaneers bagged a 3-1 win in their Telkom Knockout semi-final against Golden Arrows in Durban on Saturday.

The Buccaneers reached their fifth straight cup final, in search of the only title that eluded them last season.

"I'm used to pressure and it's part of my job," Leal said.

"I live with it and the best way to alleviate it is to win games and win competitions.

"This is the solution to sort out situations like this.

"I never bend my knee and give up - I am Brazilian."

The Soweto giants won the MTN8 title earlier this year, but their form in the Premiership has been sketchy.

Eighth on the log with just one win in their last seven league games, they entered the match against Arrows on the back of a 3-1 thumping by Wits last week.

"In four-and-a-half months since I became coach, we have won one important competition and we're in the final of another," Leal said.

"In the league we had a couple of unfair and unlucky results, but I think as the season progresses, you will see that Orlando Pirates will also do well in the league."

Pirates came from a goal down to defeat their hosts at the weekend, and while Leal was not entirely satisfied with his team's effort, he believed they had earned their place in the cup final.

"The result was better than the performance," he said.

"We started the better of the two sides, but they showed their quality and did well to score first.

"But we improved our quality on attack and got the comeback goal. I'm just happy to make the final.

"Sometimes luck is important for a team. It didn't help us at all last week, but it worked in our favour today and we are in the final. We deserve to be there."

Arrows coach Muhsin Ertugral was frustrated after the loss, criticising his senior players for getting dumped from the competition after taking the early lead in the penultimate round.

"I'm not disappointed, but I'm really angry," Ertugral said.

"You cannot throw away a game like that - and that coming from players you expect to rise to certain occasions.

"You learn in kindergarten to take the ball away from the middle, but we brought it in the middle for the first goal and they scored.

"These are things that the players know about and it was not unlucky or hard luck or anything like that.

"We made mistakes, Pirates deserved the win, and it's as simple as that."