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Lesedi Kapinga of Orlando Pirates claims the ball against Stellenbosch FC. Picture: SYDNEY SESHIBEDI/GALLO IMAGES
Lesedi Kapinga of Orlando Pirates claims the ball against Stellenbosch FC. Picture: SYDNEY SESHIBEDI/GALLO IMAGES

Orlando Pirates may have lost their last three matches, but coach Jose Riveiro is not pressing the panic button yet.

Pirates suffered their third successive defeat when they went down 1-0 to Stellenbosch FC in the MTN8 semifinal second leg on Sunday. But the Sea Robbers progressed on the away goals rule as the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate over the 180 minutes.

Before Sunday, Pirates had lost to Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana in the first leg of their Caf Champions League second preliminary round tie and to Mamelodi Sundowns in the Premiership on Wednesday, both by 1-0.

However, they can still overturn their loss to Galaxy in the second leg at Orlando Stadium on Friday and proceed to the group stages of the continental competition.

Riveiro said he does not see the result against Stellies as a loss as his team has progressed to the final, opting to judge the tie over the final score of the two legs.

“It’s three defeats in a row. It’s not frequent but if on Friday we get a result that we need [against Galaxy], we will go through,” he said.

“We lost today, but we are in the final and that’s what counts in the end. I don’t take it as a defeat even though in the record it’s going to be noted as a defeat.

“We will have the chance to go to the group stages [of the Champions League] when we play a good game on Friday. It’s in our hands. We are going to do it here at home,” Riveiro said.  “Hopefully, we will have 30,000 or 40,000 spectators.

“We are going to the final. We have the same chances as our opponents on October 7 and still 25 games to play in the league. Like I said many times, I’m a very optimistic person. I think everything is going to be all right always.”

However, the Spaniard did recognise they need to put some work into their game, especially upfront as they had been shooting blanks recently. This is strange for the side that were free-scoring before the Fifa international break.

Riveiro is also concerned about his troops losing possession and failing to maximise on their dominance over opponents.

“Again, same as the last time here, we didn’t start the way we wanted, losing the ball too easily in the first minutes of the game and not really playing in areas where we wanted,” Riveiro said.

“Also, credit must go to our opponents. They threatened with long balls with [Devin] Titus. There were always some difficulties to defend and in one set piece they managed to get the lead. We were not comfortable at all in the first half.

“In the second half, we controlled the game fully in my opinion. The uncertainty of the result makes you feel so-so, but I don’t remember any situation where they [Stellies] could really have a clear chance.

“[They had] long balls, a couple of set pieces, throw-ins, but I think we created better chances in the second half. But unfortunately, it’s the third game in a row that we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”

The game against Botswana’s Galaxy will kick off at 7.30pm and Pirates will need to beat the Galaxy cushion with two goals. 

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