Caf Champions League: Mngomeni backs Orlando Pirates to overturn first-leg deficit

The former Buccaneers skipper has backed the current squad to beat Green Eagles in the return leg which will be played at the Orlando Stadium

Retired midfielder Thabo Mngomeni has backed Orlando Pirates to overturn the 1-0 deficit against Green Eagles and make it into the first round of the Caf Champions League

Pirates suffered the defeat in Lusaka this past weekend, but their former captain is confident the Soweto giants will bounce back at the Orlando Stadium next week.

“I hear people making it like it’s a train smash. At least it’s not a big margin and there is a chance to play and win at home,” Mngomeni told Goal.

“That team is coming to South Africa and there is a chance to overturn the result.

"However, that doesn’t mean the guys must relax and say we are at home and must not work hard.

“They have the experience in players like Happy Jele who has to lead the club and the guys to ensure there is no complacency. It shouldn’t be a tough task to beat Eagles here."

In addition, the former Bafana Bafana midfielder believes the fact that Pirates opened the 2019/20 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season with a 3-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic at home should serve as an inspiration.

“I think the spirit is high. We saw the dominance, the movement and the hunger against Celtic,” he continued.

“I expected a draw or a win in Zambia but we have to understand that playing away is not easy and it’s different from home. In most cases, the conditions do not favour the away team.

“I am happy they lost with a 1-0 scoreline and that means there is a chance to score two and reach the next stage. They just have to fight like a team and ensure they put the opponent under pressure from the start."

Looking at Pirates’ upcoming matches, they will first have to meet SuperSport United away from home in the PSL this week and host Highlands Park in the MT8 Cup this weekend, and Mngomeni admits there is pressure to win trophies at Mayfair.

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"The support will be an added advantage to the boys and we all know Pirates supporters at Orlando Stadium – they rally behind the team for 90 minutes,” he added.

“I think there is always pressure at Pirates. The supporters want trophies and they need to brag about the Champions League and we cannot compare them to other teams.

“My advice is to create chances and convert them as early as possible against Eagles. However, there is the game against SuperSport and the other [Highlands Park] in the weekend, but they are professionals they can adjust and get the results."