- Pirates were eliminated from the Caf CL
- They were victims of Jwaneng Galaxy
- Now they will have to focus only on domestic competitions
WHAT HAPPENED? The Soweto giants were boosted out of the Champions League by less fancied Jwaneng Galaxy on Friday despite winning 1-0 at home.
They faltered during a penalty shootout to reel out of the elite club competition.
It was a match Riveiro benched winger Monnapule Saleng and never introduced the Bafana Bafana player.
Jwaneng Galaxy coach Morena Ramoreboli expected Saleng to come on but was surprised to see the wideman spending the entire match on the bench.
WHAT WAS SAID: “I thought honestly speaking Saleng will come in, because of how they were playing, I think it was more of his game, utilising that width more, creating those one-on-ones,” Ramoreboli said as per iDiski Times.
“But maybe, for reasons known to the coach, and maybe because they’re playing the final, maybe the coach decided that he can’t risk all his players.
“But during the game, I thought Saleng would come in because Pirates wanted to stretch us so that they could play into the box.
“So I felt that he was gonna give us a problem. It happened when Kimvuidi came because I think they needed someone who could hold more onto the ball and Kimvuidi was giving them that.
“But I think again, it was a matter, of trying to control areas. So we tried our best to control those areas.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: It was Riveiro's first time coaching in the Champions League and he failed at this maiden attempt.
So far, it is not clear why Saleng was an unused substitute against Jwaneng Galaxy.
The winger might not have been fully fit or he could have been preserved to stay fresh ahead of next weekend's MTN8 final against Mamelodi Sundowns.
WHAT NEXT FOR PIRATES? Following their exit from the Champions League, the Buccaneers will fully focus on domestic competitions.
They still have the MTN8 final, Carling Cup and Nedbank Cup to play for.
Their chances of dislodging Sundowns from the top of the Premier Soccer League table so far look tricky.