Pirates had to be aggressive to match Sundowns

football18 February 2024 10:08| © Mzansi Football

Orlando Pirates had to take an aggressive approach to their DStv Premiership clash with Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday, otherwise, they would have had little chance of coming away with any share of the spoils, said coach Jose Riveiro.

His view of the 1-1 draw at Loftus Versfeld, which was characterised by tough tackling, combustible exchanges between the players, a red card and a penalty, was markedly different to that of his Sundowns counterpart Rulani Mokwena, who said he did not enjoy the game or his team’s performance at all.

But Riveiro felt Pirates had to take the game to Sundown to stand any chance.

“Well, without it you cannot pretend to compete with this team. I'm not going to use the word ‘aggressive’, I will say we were at the same level as them.

“Sundowns conceded three goals in 14 league games. You don't concede only three goals because you are nice. It doesn't matter that they are used to having 70 per cent of possession. But the truth is that sometimes what wins games for them is exceptional defending,” Riveiro said of Sundowns.

“We always talk about them when they are attacking. But defending, they are a very committed side and with their players, there is not only technical talent but is there's conditional and physical talent as well.

“So, if we don't go in with the same intention, there's no chance because football is a game of contacts.

“And you cannot expect that every contact is going to be a foul. If you want to really compete with these guys, you have to play at the same level and then at least ask questions of them,” the Pirates coach added.