Milutin Sredojevic says Orlando Pirates outplayed defending CAF Champions League champions Esperance

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Pirates were held to a goalless stalemate in their own backyard by reigning CAF Champions League champions Esperance in their third round of group stage action over the weekend.

Despite squandering several clear-cut chances, The Buccaneers were also denied a legitimate goal that replays proved was incorrectly flagged for offside against Justin Shonga.

The hosts also looked well in control of proceedings as goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands barely had a save to make throughout the ninety minutes.

Thus, ‘Micho’ reserved praise for his charges for carrying out their game-plan to a tee, as they matched the Tunisian giants in all departments.

“We played – please do not forget – against the Champions of Africa respectfully, and with that in mind we believe we gave a good account of ourselves,” said Sredojevic.

“We did everything that was needed to win the game, except scoring that goal. In all aspects of the game we have outplayed but not outscored the opponent.

“I want to give credit to the players for following up to the last instruction, because we prepared for this match up to the last detail – it was a tough match.”

Having previously alluded to the Bucs’ record in 2013 against Esperance, the Serbian emphasised that this time their target in Tunis will be more than just an away-goal advantage but rather valuable points in order to progress to the knockout stage.

“Now it’s a totally different ball-game when you look at the fact that in 2013 it was a semi-final, where away goals counted then, and Pirates proceeded,” he pointed out.

“Now, this is a group game where both teams are playing in order to win and get points. I believe that we were much closer, and I would just say that the next match will count in a way that is not home-and-away, but a group match from which both teams need the points.

“Because only points will make us end in one of the two top-placed teams to qualify for the quarterfinals, which is our target.

“We know it will be very tough in Tunis, where we’ll have no matter of supporters but a very good opponent against us. 

“Though they were not at their best [on Saturday], they will be in a different mood in their home, but we are ready for all this and we will look to get the best possible result there.” 

Bucs next face arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto Derby on Saturday, before hurriedly traveling to North Africa for their away leg against Esperance on Tuesday evening.