Milutin Sredojevic identifies way to fix Orlando Pirates' dismal penalty shootout record

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Pirates suffered a shock exit at the first round of the Nedbank Cup after going down to Black Leopards in a penalty shootout in Limpopo on Saturday.

The Buccaneers huffed and puffed but ultimately failed to blow over a resilient Lidoda Duvha defensive structure, before once again choking in the sudden death stages as they did in the Telkom Knockout final and MTN8 quarterfinal earlier this season.

Despite gaining an advantage after Mwape Musonda squandered the hosts’ opening kick, misses from 12-yards out from Kudakwashe Mahachi and Alfred Ndengane saw the Soweto giants crumble under pressure once again.

Astonishingly, Pirates have lost a penalty shootout on the last six consecutive occasions, with their previous win dating back to August 2013 when they beat SuperSport United 6-5, after playing to a 2-2 draw in extra-time of their MTN8 quarterfinal. They later went on to lose 2-4 to Platinum Stars in the final.

Given such a dismal record, Sredojevic feels it would be wise to avoid shootouts entirely by wrapping their matches up in regulation or extra-time, though he also defended the individuals who failed to convert their spot-kicks at the Thohoyandou Stadium.

“People are talking about it, but there is a law of averages. I’ve also heard that this was the 11thtime Orlando Pirates have been in this situation and nine times we have not gone through,” said 'Micho' of the club’s penalty shootout record.

“It’s really too much from the point of law of averages but we cannot be excuse-makers and blame-shifters. We need to look at ourselves, our formula and how to finish matches before the penalties come.

“But as for the penalties, all the players that took penalties [against Leopards] had been extremely effective [in training] but the pressure of the match and practical exhaustion from the game had their legs very heavy and that led then to those two penalties being missed.

“It’s very unfortunate but we cannot return [and change it] – we need to learn a lesson.”