De Sa backs defence, laments missed chances

New Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa was relieved more than anything else with a win against Platinum Stars

Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa has praised the defensive quality of his side but lamented poor finishing from his strikers following the 1-0 away win over Platinum Stars on Saturday.

The Buccaneers played for 72 minutes against 10 men after the early sending-off of Thabiso Semenya for Dikwena, but had to rely on an Andile Jali penalty midway through the second period to pick up the three points.

It was the first game in charge for De Sa after he took over the team on Monday from Augusto Palacios and he says he is pleased that the work he has done with the team this week has paid off on the pitch.

“It was the three points that mattered and to get over the last couple of losses, as well as to keep a clean sheet, that was important too,” De Sa says.

“I thought at the back we were really organised today and Andile [Jali] did a great job in the middle. The numerous missed chances is a concern, but that is something that we can work on.

“We showed today what we had worked on in training, keeping defensive discipline. [Goalkeeper] Moeneeb [Josephs] never had to make a save to make and it was important to keep that zero.

“I think we created five or six fairly good opportunities that we did not convert and we need to work on that. I learnt quite a lot today and think there is plenty to work on.”

Stars coach Cavin Johnson has now seen his side lose three in a row and admits the red card was a killer for his team. He doesn’t believe the penalty for handball against Ntsikelelo Nyauza should have been given either.

“I think we held them like we planned to in the first 20 minutes, but then Thabiso took a risk with the handball. I would have preferred if he had taken the risk to see if the goalkeeper would have collected the ball.

“The red card really affected us, it allowed Pirates to be easy on the ball and have a lot of possession.

“I don’t think it was a penalty, but that is the referee’s decision. We tried to come back, but today Pirates were better than us and deserved to win.

“My boys playing with 10 men did very well, I thought there were moments when we could have done something, but playing against Pirates with a man down is always going to be difficult.

“But I am happy with the way we are going, I know we can improve, the first four games were difficult for what is basically a new team. Hopefully in the next couple of games we can really come together and do something in the PSL.”