Milutin Sredojevic: Orlando Pirates' clash with AmaZulu could have gone either way

The Serbian tactician is hoping to guide the Buccaneers to their second Telkom Knockout title

Orlando Pirates head coach Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic felt that their 2018 Telkom Knockout Cup clash with AmaZulu FC could have gone either way.

The Buccaneers booked their place in the semi-finals after securing a 3-1 win over Usuthu in extra-time at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

“It’s been a football war. We started badly inside the first 15 minutes because the wind was pushing so much and we are not used to that and we wanted to play from the back," Sredojevic told SuperSport TV.  

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Pirates opened the scoring through Thembinkosi Lorch, but Bonginkosi Ntuli levelled matters for AmaZulu and the match went to extra-time following a 1-1 draw in regulation time. 

“The opponent put us on high pressure. We absorbed that pressure and scored a goal. And then we conceded at a critical phase where we should have kept concentration. We insisted at half-time on certain things that happened because we didn’t shorten the distance, relations and gaps that appeared. The second half we tried our best," he continued.

The likes of Augustine Mulenga, Vincent Pule and Justin Shonga were wasteful on the night, but goals from Lorch and Xola Mlambo sealed Bucs' victory in extra-time.

“We had a clear chance at the end but didn’t score from there. The opponent also came up in the second half, it was like two boxers punching each other and the game could have gone either way. We enforced important aspects into extra time and exactly we got paid two minutes of extra time. First 15 minutes we got one goal and second 15 minutes we got the second goal and this is what led the game in our way,” he added.

Sredojevic, who is hoping to end Bucs' four-year trophy drought by winning Telkom Knockout further explained why he delayed making changes.

“It’s very important when a player comes in, his temperature warms up and is a different temperature to the game. When you have that in mind until he gets to the temperature of the game it’s not easy. So, the first change was exactly towards the end of the game. Knowing (Thabo) Qalinge would add the speed up front because the opponent plays very high and he did impart fresh legs," he continued. 

“Later on, we scored the goals, we switched to a three-man defence. Putting Shoes (Asavela Mbekile) at the right because he was tired and [Paseka] Mako covering the left side,” he concluded.

Pirates joined Baroka FC and defending champions Bidvest Wits in the semi-finals. The semi-final line-up will be completed by the winner between Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport on Sunday.