Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic has said that his team’s 1-1 draw at home to Bloemfontein Celtic was a “setback” despite the result sending his team to the top of the log.
The Buccaneers needed a late equaliser from Luvoyo Memela to cancel out Tshepo Rikhotso’s first-half goal for Phunya Sele Sele.
The Bloemfontein side put in a superb defensive showing, with their organisation and discipline drawing praise from ‘Micho’.
“Credit to the team of Bloemfontein Celtic, they have a very organised, reinforced defence that block off nine people behind the ball in front of Patrick [Tignyemb],” said the Pirates coach in his post-match television interview.
“It’s not easy to penetrate that because they are working for each other and providing a green wall.
“From the start we wanted to tire them and for that to be our way of finding where we can penetrate.
“However, they have used exactly that moment, limiting time and space, providing the numbers and limiting us in time and space, denying us [the chance] to convert what we have created.
“In the first half we had a situation where against the run of play, from a corner kick, we conceded. And when you have that, you have an opponent that is up with confidence leading, an opponent that is motivated and continuing to play in their way.
“We were throwing everything [at Celtic] from the point of available attacking options, playing in the end with only two defenders.”
He added, “[We] were trying everything, trying though the centre, trying through the flanks, having crosses... and once through the centre, from [Luvoyo] Memela we passed through.”
The draw, combined with Mamelodi Sundowns’ loss in Cape Town, saw Pirates rise to first place on the log, but Sredojevic insists the two points dropped outweigh the achievement of going top.
He added, “This is a setback, we wanted to win, however we cannot now look back, we need to pick up the pieces, look forward and look to collect more points. Ahead of us there is still seven more matches [in the league] to play.”