Sport / Phakaaathi / Local Soccer

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe
Football Writer
2 minute read
8 Apr 2019
10:19 am

Wits played into Pirates’ hands

Tshepo Ntsoelengoe

The Buccaneers are level on 44 points with Sundowns, but the Pretoria outfit have a game in hand after shifting their focus to the Caf Champions League this past weekend.

Milutin Sredojevic, former head coach of Orlando Pirates (Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix)

Despite winning with an own-goal, Micho Sredojevic believes his Orlando Pirates team deserved the points and says the football gods have paid them for all their draws they have played following their 1-0 victory over Bidvest Wits at the Bidvest Stadium on Saturday.

It all seemed like Bucs would settle for their 12th draw of the season following their goalless stalemate with Mamelodi Sundowns, but a Keagan Ritchie own-goal in stoppage-time saw the Soweto side take all three points and go to the top of the Absa Premiership on goal difference.

The Buccaneers are level on 44 points with Sundowns, but the Pretoria outfit have a game in hand after shifting their focus to the Caf Champions League this past weekend.

READ: Ritchie gift helps Pirates keep the pressure on Sundowns

“We worked very hard from the start, but we were a bit surprised with our opponents playing just three defenders. With Vuyo Mere and Ritchie, that was a very risky approach. We pulled one midfielder back between our central defenders and that settled the game in our favour.

“It was a game of two boxers trying to outhit each other. We played against a team that has a specific way of playing … they don’t allow you to express yourself, you need to readjust to the way they play,” said Sredojevic.

“The game could have gone either way, but we have won. I don’t believe the points were stolen, I believe we deserve this, the football gods are paying us or all the draws we had where we could have won those games. Sometimes football gives you something and today it happened.”

Meanwhile, captain Happy Jele, who got the Man-of-the-Match accolade for his outstanding defending which ensured Wits were unable to score a goal, went on to praise his team-mates’ efforts despite their slow start in the game.

“It was a difficult game, Bidvest Wits played very well. And with us, we played well and did everything we did in training. It was important for us to get three points. We have to keep on grinding it out, I’m very proud of the boys with the way they played, there was a lot of effort even though we started slowly in the first 15 minutes,” said the skipper.

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.