Orlando Pirates coach Fadlu Davids believes his side is capable of beating SuperSport United 5-0 in their final game of the season on Monday and qualify for the Caf Confederation Cup.
Pirates let a two-goal lead and three points slip from their grasp to draw 2-2 with Royal AM in a PSL match at Chatsworth Stadium in Durban on Friday, when Thabo Matlaba and Mfundo Thikazi scored in the final 13 minutes to cancel out Deo Hotto and Kwame Preprah’s early goals for the Buccaneers.
The draw leaves Pirates in fifth position on 44 points, three behind Royal who occupy the Confederation Cup slot in third and with a four-goal advantage over the Soweto giants.
That means Pirates must beat SuperSport by at least five goals to pip Royal to third and seal a return to the competition which they lost in the final to RS Berkane of Morocco last Friday and Davids believes this is possible.
“We know what we have to do,” Davids told SuperSport TV after the match.
He added: “We’ve got to beat SuperSport 5-0 to get third place but really disappointed, I feel for the players. After starting exactly like we wanted, high intensity and not to be able to kill off the game with a third goal and conceding late was really disappointing.”
While praising his team for starting the game well, Davids, whose team has played three matches in a week, blamed fatigue for the late collapse that allowed Royal back in the game.
“Fatigue late in the game meant we could not sustain the momentum we started with. Dropping further and further deeper and not being able to put pressure on the ball,” said Davids.
“Our pressing structure was good in the first 10-15 minutes of the second half then we had the opportunities, winning the ball and getting counters and we had to kill off the game and that is what we did not do.”
Royal coach John Maduka, whose team lived up to the moniker ‘comeback kings’ is keeping his fingers crossed, as he prays for a favourable result that will see his team remain third.
“When Pirates play against SuperSport, we hope the result suites us,” said Maduka.
“It is important for a team like us to go and represent South Africa in the continent. As much as we wanted to go to the Caf Champions League, we have a chance to go to the Confederation Cup and let’s see how it goes.”
Victory for Royal would have seen them dislodge Cape Town City into second and qualify for the Champions League given their superior goal difference but they will now be hoping for favours from SuperSport to feature in the Confederation Cup next season.