The Buccaneers are definitely vulnerable, but they must bounce back in another away clash – this time to struggling Golden Arrows – to keep the excitement of the Premiership title race alive.
Cape Town Stadium was a location where Pirates were expected to struggle, their 3-0 loss to a Ajax a few weeks earlier forcing them to go into their clash with coach Benni McCarthy’s side on Wednesday in the cup already carrying a psychological disadvantage.
They succumbed 1-0, but were far from outplayed.
“We are looking to have better match management in our next game,” said Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic.
“You can prepare all you like, but the game of football is unpredictable. There are certain things from our loss against Cape Town City that we need to take to the drawing board and analyse and there are also some positives from that match.”
Pirates will perhaps find that Arrows, hosts at the Princess Magogo Stadium tonight, will not be as tough an opposition as McCarthy’s men were. Arrows are currently 10th on the table and have only managed a single win from their previous seven matches in all competitions. The Buccaneers remain the closest title rivals to log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns being just four points behind them with seven matches still to be played.
Sundowns are in CAF Champions League action this weekend and the gap could be reduced to a single point by Pirates should they beat what really is a timid looking Arrows outfit, coached by Clinton Larsen.
Arrows did manage to hold the Buccaneers to a goalless draw in the corresponding fixture back in October at Orlando Stadium. But they were highflying at the time having only lost one of their previous 10 league matches.
They have since imploded, but are still in with a chance to make the top eight and will be hoping their fortunes turn against Pirates in their own backyard.
“Maybe we have a problem with being in Cape Town because we have now played two games there and have not scored. That is something we must now look at. But this team is still the same team that beat Kaizer Chiefs (3-1 in a league game over a week earlier),” Sredojevic said. “We live by the philosophy that when we are doing well we don’t fly sky high and when it is bad we do not give up. We move on. It was hard to accept that the 1-0 score line was a fair result. The match went on waves – they had their chance and we had ours. They had one situation against the run of play and scored.”