Pirates coach Kjell Jonevret appeals to the referee after striker Tendai Ndoro was brought down by Maritzburg defender Brian Onyango. Photo: Samuel Shivambu, BackpagePix
JOHANNESBURG – Kjell Jonevret expressed his delight at his side’s performance on Saturday night against Bloemfontein Celtic in their Nedbank Cup quarter-final, saying that they are now beginning to play with less nerves.

A goal by Thamsanqa Gabuza in the in the first half of extra-time was enough to give Orlando Pirates the win, after a Kabelo Mahlasela strike cancelled out Abbubaker Mobara’s goal with just three minutes to go before full time.

Jonevret applauded how his side performed against Siwelele, adding that they looked more sharper in attack compared to when they drew 0-0 against Highlands Park in an Absa Premiership clash prior to the weekend match.

“We had a good week leading up to this match,” Jonevret said. “We produced two wins and a draw. For this match, we tried to work on having more players up front whenever we were on the offensive. In our previous match against Highlands, we attacked with three or four players and you just can’t do that if you want to win matches.

"But having said that, I was happy with the way we performed in the first half, though we didn’t create many scoring chances. The likes of (Abbubaker) Mobara, Oupa (Manyisa) and even Issa (Sarr) made a whole lot of offensive runs, which I’m very happy with.”

The 54-year-old Swede also commended Mobara’s strike which gave them the lead early in the second half; adding that the central midfielder took good heed of the instructions he's been given in training.

“I was happy with how Mobara scored the first goal,” Jonevret said. “I had spoken to him about making those runs (into the area) and I’m glad he responded. I knew that he could do it. Celtic equalised late in the game but I’m happy with how we came back in the first half of extra-time as well. I’m glad that we are now in the semi-finals.”

Meanwhile, The Sea Robbers will host Baroka FC in a league tie on Wednesday and Jonevret said it was quite crucial that his side fought for maximum points in every league match they will be playing in if they are to finish in the top eight, while keeping an eye on winning the Nedbank Cup trophy as well.

“There isn’t much of a difference between the teams which are at the top and the ones who are at the bottom,” Jonevret said. “The teams at the bottom are the ones always fighting for points in order to make sure that they don't get relegated.

And so, it’s going to be tough. But, hopefully, performances like this one we produced against Celtic will give us a little more confidence in the way we play and get rid of these nerves. There’s nothing that you can do about it but continue fighting.”

@Mohau_Ra

The Star

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter