Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates title defence might have begun with a 2-1 comeback win against Golden Arrows, but the double treble champions display at on Friday night was not quite up to standard, said coach Augusto Palacios.
The Bucaneers coach expressed his disappointment at the team’s display, especially in the first stanza of the game.
However he lamented on the harm that injuries caused to his plans which saw him start a game with different combinations in midfield and in defence.
“I think this the second game that we began very complacent and we allowed our opponents more space to play then they scored,” Palacios said.
“Today’s combinations were completely different, Oupa was not there and we had to start with Manti (Moholo in midfield.
“It was also the first time we started with Thabo (Matlaba) and Patrick (Phungwayo) on the left and right side of defence.”
Arrows coach Muhsin Ertugral started with rookie striker, Bongi Ntuli who is a product of the club's development ranks.
The youngster did not disappoint as he hit the ground running, scoring on his league debut against some seasoned campaigners in the Bucs defence, Lucky Lekgwathi and Siyabonga Sangweni.
“Our striker is just 19 years old and you have to get him out at some point in the game but today Bongi played a good game,” Ertugral said.
“We had no one else that we could bring from the bench so we had to make use of what we had. That boy will go far and I will continue to play him.”
The Arrows mentor took a swipe at his two senior players, Thanduyise Khuboni and Souleymane Keita who were outplayed by Andile Jali and Manti Moholo in the middle of the park.
“Look Khuboni and Keita are internationals but their display today was very disappointing. Keita is a championship winner in Turkey with Sivasspor and he should understand that you can’t come to South Africa and play soft football,” Ertugral said.
Meanwhile in the Pirates camp, Andile Jali and Moholo were just not clicking in midfield, especially in the first half as both were playing to deep.
Palacios said: “It will always be difficult to play the first game of the season especially with a number of new players that we have in the squad but we managed to get three points and that’s important.”
Pirates will be happy with their start to the new season, as they look to retain their title and above take the early lead ahead of their next tie against SuperSport United on Wednesday.
Arrows will have to return to the drawing board as they prepare to host new-comers University of Pretoria (Tuks), also on Wednesday night. – Sapa