Vermezovic calls for clinical Pirates

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iol spt pic Vladimir Vermezovic GALLO IMAGES Orlando Pirates boss Vladimir Vermezovic says he and his team are approaching each game as if it were their last. Photo: Lefty Shivambu

Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates boss Vladimir Vermezovic says he and his team have shifted their mentality and are approaching each game as if it were their last.

The Buccaneers take on Wits in Johannesburg on Sunday in the first leg semifinal of the MTN8 away from home but has called on the Sea Robbers to improve on their early season form.

“We're going to play every game as our final game and, with that approach, we would like to play. Of course it's very important for us to score in the first game,” Vladimir said ahead of the game at Bidvest Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

“As we have seen in the last few couple of [league] games, there are no favourites, there is no home or away. In this league, anyone can beat anyone.

“I'm not satisfied with the results but, the way we've played these games, I think I must be satisfied.”

Following their win over Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the Carling Black Label Cup last month, Vermezovic's outfit have struggled to get their new league season up and running, losing on the opening day of the league, before Bloemfontein Celtic held them to a draw on Wednesday.

A 2-1 win over SuperSport United in the previous round of MTN8 action was Pirates' best result thus far.

Vermezovic explained that playing a two-legged semifinal was different to any of the other games this season, with the game being decided over 180 minutes.

“This game is totally different [to the Nedbank Cup final] because it's not 90 minutes, it's 180 minutes,” the Serbian coach said.

“I know that nothing will be over in the first leg and I also know that Wits expect revenge for the last game when we played in Durban.

“I expect a good game. They have a strong team, a quality team, and it will be a very interesting game to play.”

The pair will meet on Sunday for the first time since the Buccaneers' 3-1 victory over Hunt's side in the final of the Nedbank Cup, in Durban, in May.

Wits coach Gavin Hunt, meanwhile, admits that the Clever Boys are still some way off from where he would like them to be, and has identified the MTN8 semifinals as added game-time which the team will use to iron out the last of their niggles.

“Over two legs it's always difficult but to get a big game so early in the season is good for us. We need the game so we're looking forward to it,” Hunt, now in his second season with Wits, said.

“It was important to get through the first round. It's not going to be easy, we've got a new team.

“I don't see it as an advantage or a disadvantage. Obviously the away goal rule does comes into effect.

“Right now, a 0-0 will be great for us. The result, not to concede at home, is very important, I'm sure it will be same when we play them there [Orlando Stadium].

“At the end of the day, you have to play each other somewhere, home or away, first or second, but over the two legs, it will certainly go the distance.”


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