Orlando Pirates coach Eric Tinkler says his team will be playing in two cup finals in the closing weeks of the campaign, not just the Nedbank Cup decider which they reached over the weekend.
The Buccaneers secured their ticket to the 2015/16 season-ending game on May 28 by beating Free State Stars 4-2 in their semi-final at Goble Park in Bethlehem on Saturday.
They will now meet SuperSport United, who ousted Baroka FC 2-0, in the final at Peter Mokaba Stadium.
Before that, however, Tinkler’s men will be looking to secure a top-eight Absa Premiership finish when they lock horns with Matsatsantsa in the final game of the season. It is effectively a winner-takes-all clash, with the losing team possibly missing out on qualification for next season’s MTN8.
“We stand a good chance of playing two cup finals,” the Pirates coach said. “We have got a very important game on Saturday to ensure a place in the top eight against SuperSport, and then again another cup final.”
The Soweto giants are presently seventh on the league table with their 40 points leaving them level with Lamontville Golden Arrows in seventh and ahead of SuperSport in ninth by just a single point.
Meanwhile, Tinkler was overjoyed with their win in the Free State, particularly drawing pleasure from their first half showing when they lead 2-0.
“I’m obviously very delighted, particularly with the first half,” he said.
“I thought we were exceptional how we started the game. We looked lively and put them under pressure. We knew if we pressed them high they would start panicking and giving the ball away which is what happened.
“I thought we deserved our 2-0 lead at half-time. I explained the danger of the result, not to concede.
“Unfortunately that is exactly what happened. It was also due to them changing to a 3-5-2 formation. It was what we actually practised but we struggled to adapt. We looked at sixes and sevens at stages. Then the players remembered with the 3-5-2 there would be spaces out wide and we exploited that.”
Pirates scored through a Luvuyo Memela brace, a strike from Thamsanqa Gabuza and an own goal by Lucky Mohomi.
Mohomi also netted at the other end along with Ayanda Nkosi.