File picture: Orlando Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic praised his players for eking out a much needed win over their beleaguered Soweto rivals Moroka Swallows. Photo by Carl Fourie / Gallo Images

It was far from convincing, bordering on monotonous, but Orlando Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic praised his players for eking out a much needed win over their beleaguered Soweto rivals Moroka Swallows on Saturday.

Pirates secured their second league victory in four matches under the tutelage of Vermezovic, thanks to Tlou Segolela who pounced on a rebound to head home from close range after just 12 minutes of play.

The Serbian said his players showed character and their experience was essential in making sure they claimed the victory which put them in fourth place ahead of Platinum Stars.

“Maybe we were lucky, but luck is part of our game. Big teams even when they play bad sometimes they win.

“Definitely today we did not play well in the second half, but we won the game. We showed character and thanks to our experience we won the game,” said Vermezovic, whose two victories in the league so far have come against the miserable Dube Birds, with the same scoreline.

Pirates were not fluent in their play, and could not control the midfield the way they used to when now departed midfielder Andile Jali was still with the team. They have struggled a good deal since he left for Belgium.

Bucs were no threat up front either, fading in the game after early pressure on the visitors led to a Segolela goal.

“We are not playing the way I want, but we will get there,” said Vermezovic. “This season we want to win as many games as possible and try to do something in the Cup (Nedbank Cup). And then you can expect the real Orlando Pirates in August.”

“Possession of the ball is key, then from there good transition in attack. We will work on that.”

Vermezovic said he had a word with his winger Khethokwakhe Masuku, who went on to the bench with his headphones after being substituted at half-time in Pirates’ 2-0 victory over Santos in the Nedbank Cup over a week ago.

Masuku, who came on as a substitute on Saturday, has since apologised for his actions and Vermezovic said they have put it behind them.

“I spoke to him after the game in Cape Town, immediately.

“He is young and sometimes they do not think properly. He has apologised and this thing is over for me now.”

Pirates will be without goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa and right back Happy Jele, who are both suspended after being booked on Saturday, for their next match against Mpumalanga Black Aces on Wednesday.

“We have a deep squad, and (Fatau) Dauda will be ready for the game as our goalkeeper. Ntsiki (Ntsikelelo Nyauza) will be there to play at right back.”

Pirates face an Aces side in scintillating form, fresh from an impressive 2-0 victory away to Ajax Cape Town which saw them climb into the top half of the table.

Under Clive Barker this season Aces have soared and their run of results this year makes them a big threat to Pirates, who played to a 1-1 draw with the Mpumalanga club a few weeks ago at Mbombela Stadium.

Aces have lost just two of their eight matches this year, and cannot be ruled out of upsetting the Buccaneers in Orlando. - The Star