First objective missed for Pirates after MTN8 loss
Orlando Pirates' ambitions of a comprehensive sweep of the multiple trophies on offer to them this season were set back at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday after they lost again at the first hurdle in the MTN8.
It takes just four matches to win the cup -- and a handsome R8-million prize -- and so is a trophy much coveted by coaches and players in the realisation there are not many easier ways to garner a winner's medal.
Pirates' significant purchasing of players in the off-season -- nine in all -- put them among the early favourites, but they blew their chances in front of their home fans.
A post-match penalty shootout defeat by holders SuperSport United in the quarterfinals was the third time in a row they had been eliminated at the first hurdle and followed a plethora of missed chances that would have confirmed Pirates' superiority, leaving coach Milutin Sredojevic fuming.
"We started well but what was unacceptable was to open that zone from where SuperSport score many goals and concede a goal from that so-called 'golden area' in front of the defence. No one was there to apply the block.
"Secondly, also from the transition we made two similar mistakes and in a game like this one it does not forgive you," Sredojevic said at the post-match press conference.
"Anyhow, we dominated mostly and we did our best to finish it off before we were forced to go to penalties, which we know is a lottery.
"We had a golden chance to finish the match in regular time and missed that penalty."
SuperSport goalkeeper Ronwen Williams produced the most significant moment of the match seven minutes from the end of extra-time to save Augustine Mulenga's penalty, going the right way to parry away the Zambian striker's spot kick.
Pirates have now drawn their opening two home matches of the seasonalthough they did win away at Chippa United in the league on Wednesday. That will also be of concern to Sredojevic, who has showed his willingness to innovate by adding a 'Specialist Coach for Finishing' in Stéphane Adam to his technical team.
As it happens, next up for the Buccaneers is free-scoring Bidvest Wits at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.
"Football has shown us something that is a big truth of the game and that is it's not about what you deserve but what you get. If it was about deserving, then we deserved more but we got what we got. We are so disappointed, but we need to pick up the pieces.
"The league continues for us on Wednesday and we need to find the mental strength from this disappointment to bounce back stronger," added the Pirates coach.