JOHANNESBURG – Black Leopards coach Dylan Kerr believes his team were worthy of winning their Nedbank Cup tie against Orlando Pirates way before the penalty shoot-out.
While the Limpopo outfit triumphed 5-4 on penalties, Kerr says their performance throughout the 120 minutes made them deserving of progression to the last 16 of South Africa’s premier knockout Cup competition.
“Credit to my players,” Kerr said. “I thought we dominated the first half. And the energy we used in the second half killed it, especially in the first 20 minutes. Yes Pirates kept the ball well, but they did not hurt us. They did not carve us open.
In the first half we dominated and created chance after chance. Even in the second half in extra time we found good openings, we had good play and one-twos.”
Particularly pleasing for Kerr was his team’s commitment and effort.
“Take your hat off to the players for the tempo and the level of play for the 120 minutes. It was a great game of football,” he said.
Praising Pirates for their ability to manage the game, play the ball better and keep the ball better, Kerr would love to see his team do just that.
“They play how we would like to play. But we’re always trying to score, when we lose the ball we try to win it again and that is credit to the enthusiasm, energy, effort and desire of the players to win and to better themselves. And not just on the football field, but as I’ve said to them, better your life.” Kerr said.
“And the only way they can do that is by winning competitions, winning Cup games and finishing in the PSL (by avoiding relegation).”
That message has clearly rung a bell with his players as Leopards have been playing pretty well lately as evidenced not only by their win over Pirates on Saturday, but their good run of form in the PSL as well.
Leopards are in 11th spot on the league standings and though they can still be dragged into the relegation zone, their five-match unbeaten run is pretty impressive and the Cup victory will serve as a confidence booster for the league matches ahead.@Tshiliboy