Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer on Sunday insisted that his team put in a positive performance and that the game was much closer than the score suggested after suffering a 3-0 thrashing to Mamelodi Sundowns.
Second-half goals by Ricardo Nascimento from the penalty spot, Peter Shalulile and Lyle Lakay handed Masandawana the three points as they reclaimed the lead in the title race.
The Buccaneers remain in fifth position in the standings following the defeat and suffered their second heavy defeat to Sundowns in recent weeks after a 4-1 hammering in the Nedbank Cup.
Zinnbauer insisted that the score belied the performance that his players put in who he felt were unlucky to be on the receiving end of such a heavy defeat.
"Tough game, we know Sundowns have quality," Zinnbauer told SuperSport TV post-match. "We could feel that today but I cannot say to my team this was a bad game by us.
"This was a really, really good game [performance], but this is football. I need to watch the game again but my immediate reaction is that it's clear that it was a close game.
"We came close to scoring then got the penalty, but then Sundowns score. It was close in the second-half, even more so in the first-half.
"Yes, in the first ten to fifteen minutes we needed to find our structure and we struggled a bit because we didn't have one training session to prepare for this game.
"So we needed a bit of time, then during the game they found their right structure and Sundowns always manage to find solutions.
"In the first half we lacked a little bit of quality in our final ball where we could have grabbed a goal and the same in the second period but we didn't have the luck.
"But I really have to say today the performance was really, really, really good but the result looks so bad especially with a 3-0 scoreline but I have to say again the performance was very good."
Pirates will be aiming to get back to winning ways when they next face Black Leopards in a league clash at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.
Kick-off is at 17:00.