Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates boss Roger de Sa believes Kaizer Chiefs will have a slight advantage in terms of fitness and recovery ahead of their MTN8 second-leg semifinal meeting at the Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.
Chiefs claimed a 2-1 Premiership victory over Platinum Stars on Saturday evening to extend their unbeaten run to three, while the Buccaneers successfully negotiated their passage into the semi-finals of the Caf Champions League, following a goalless draw with Egyptian giants Al-Ahly on Sunday.
De Sa said the fact that Chiefs had an extra day to prepare for Tuesday's encounter gave them the upper hand, allowing their players enough time to sufficiently recover from the weekend's action.
“We'd love to have had an extra days' rest but that's part of the game,” De Sa said on Monday.
“We get given the fixtures and we have to plan around it. It is a slight advantage but there's nothing we can do, we just have to get on with it.
“The difference of three or four days is not big. But the difference between one and two days can be problematic for us.”
Daine Klate scored the only goal of the match on August 24 to hand Pirates a slender advantage heading into Tuesday's encounter, but De Sa believes it would be vital for the Pirates camp to shift its focus away from the Champions League, back to the heroics of the local cup competition.
“As far as the Champions League is concerned, to be honest, I’m only thinking Chiefs right now,” De Sa said.
“We have to refocus quickly. We know Chiefs will come at us and we know they are capable of that.
“They're hungry and coming from behind, it's going to be tough.”
Amakhosi boss Stuart Baxter, meanwhile, called for a committed effort from his troops.
“There's no draws, no safety margins and you have to score more goals than your opponent,” Baxter said.
“When you get onto the field, there can be no other option than to beat your opponent.
“We need to go there, we need to have total focus on winning the game in the 90 minutes in front of us.”
Baxter opted to rest a number of his senior players for Saturday's game, and the Briton admitted the nature of the season necessitated the need to rotate players on a game-to-game basis.
“We were resting some of the players, not because we had an important game coming up against Pirates, but because looking at the games ahead, I felt it was the only opportunity to give some of the players a rest,” Baxter said.
“I think the fact that we (Chiefs) had an extra day to prepare only becomes an advantage if we use it.
“I will take the extra day because I wouldn't like to be in Roger's shoes and not have the extra day... it's a potential bonus for us but we have to use it.”
In Tuesday's other semi-final, Platinum Stars will travel to Bidvest Wits leading 4-2 on aggregate. – Sapa