Leal answers the Ghost

2012-02-27 09:24

Orlando Pirates fans played a large part in the team’s 1-0 win over Maritzburg United in Soweto yesterday, according to Buccaneers coach Julio Leal.

Pirates spectators, known as the Ghost, had called from the stands for Benni McCarthy to come off the bench in the second half.

When Leal answered their cries, the veteran striker banged in a stunning strike from a scissor kick, bumping the hosts up to third in the Premiership standings.

“The supporters were in a hurry,” Leal said after the match. “They asked for Benni by chanting his name. They were right and I was right to make the change.”

McCarthy replaced the ineffective Rudolf Bester in the 70th minute and he found the back of the net four minutes later to hand the title holders a valuable win.

Leal had introduced Tokelo Rantie earlier in the second half, as a replacement for Portuguese forward Luis Boa Morte, in an effort to soften up the Maritzburg defence.

That decision, however, had been made without the urging of the Ghost.

“I know very well the behaviour of Orlando Pirates spectators,” Leal said. “I respect that, but this is not mathematics or science. This is an art and it comes with emotions.

“I brought on Tukelo earlier because their defence was tired and I wanted him to make them more tired for Benni to come on.”

Pirates were the only side in the title race to pick up a win at the weekend, closing the gap on leaders Mamelodi Sundowns to three points at the top of the table.

Kaizer Chiefs were left lying second, ahead of Pirates only on points difference, with SuperSport United, who went down 1-0 in a shock defeat to AmaZulu, a point further back in fourth place.

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