ORLANDO Pirates’ 1-1 draw against bitter rivals Kaizer Chiefs could possibly put a serious dent on their Absa Premiership title aspirations.
This is an impression created by head coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic.
Bucs’ talisman Thembinkosi Lorch’s rescued a point for Pirates after Amakhosi defender Daniel Cardoso had opened the scoring via a penalty spot early in the second half at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
But there was barely time to reflect much on Bucs’ draw as they had a plane to catch straight to Tunisia after the match that was attended by about 87 000 fans.
Now Sredojevic’s focus is on their crucial Caf Champions League Group A clash against defending champions Esperance in Tunis tomorrow afternoon.
The Buccaneers are living hope that they might earn a double by winning the 2018-19 Premiership title and the Champions League, which has been elusive for them.
Pirates and the Tunisian giants are tied on five points each from three matches going into this top of the table clash, which will be played behind closed doors.
This follows Esperance’s unruly celebrations after their Champions League victory against Egyptian giants Al Ahly last season.
At this stage, Bucs cannot afford to lose to the North Africans as Guineans Horoya AC are breathing heavily behind the two teams’ neck. Horoya are in third place with four points. They are sail past a lacklustre FC Platinum of Zimbabwe at home.
Sredojevic made it clear his charges are targeting the quarter-final berth, and losing in Tunis is not an option.
Sredojevic said: “This match in Tunisia takes so many emotions. We will squeeze them like lemon. We don’t have time to defend there. We will attack from the onset because our ultimate goal is to reach the quarter-final. It’s important to stay in the top two.”
In the Premiership, Bucs missed an opportunity to close the gap between themselves and log leaders Bidvest Wits, who crashed to a surprise 2-1 defeat to Highlands Park at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa on Saturday.
“We wanted an extra ordinary performance,” Sredojevic added.
“But we didn’t get that from our boys. There should be regrets that we didn’t get the three points from my side. You always get what you deserve if you don’t score.”
Before the derby, Pirates were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw at home by Baroka FC, and the draw against Amakhosi hindered their PSL title aspirations.
But the Serbian mentor refused to blame their staggering campaign on the many points they have dropped.
He said: “I’m not worried with the drawn matches. We will treat our remaining 11 league matches like cup finals.”