Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic was full of praise for his players after they came from behind to record a 2-1 win against Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto derby on Saturday.
Despite starting the clash off the brighter of the two teams, Pirates went behind when Soweto derby debutant Khama Billiat opened the scoring in the 16th minute.
Pirates, however showed their mettle as goals by Innocent Maela and Vincent Pule saw Pirates extend their recent dominance over their neighbours.
Chiefs Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune even denied Pirates striker Justin Shonag from the penalty spot, however Pirates were not to be denied victory fighting tooth and nail to edge their rivals.
‘The biggest game of South African football always comes with tension, pressure, stress. We have worked very hard during the week, and we plan from the start to keep the concentration,’ Sredojevic said in post-match comments.
‘However, it was not meant to be in the first 20 minutes – we have not been ourselves. It looked like the occasion locked our legs, and we went one goal down.
‘Then, we came out and got that penalty. And when the team misses a penalty, then it’s very hard to come back. But unbelievable character of our players – worked very hard, we scored two goals quick.
‘Then later on, the opponent will come out, and we had some weaknesses, especially in front of the defence – that area was always exposed. We (tried) to fix this at halftime to protect the lead very well and win this game.
‘Respect to Chiefs, they tried their best. But we must be firmly on the ground and not get carried away, as we have the league and Telkom Cup ahead of us. The best of Orlando Pirates is yet to come,’ he concluded.
The Buccaneers turn their attention to their Telkom Knockout quarter-final clash against Baroka on Saturday with the date and venue set to be announced this week.