De Sa: Chiefs hold the edge

Roger de Sa (Gallo Images)
Roger de Sa (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates' boss Roger de Sa believes Kaizer Chiefs will have a slight advantage in fitness and recovery ahead of their MTN8 second-leg soccer semi-final at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.

Chiefs claimed a 2-1 PSL victory over Platinum Stars on Saturday evening to extend their unbeaten run to three.

The Buccaneers successfully negotiated their passage into the semi-finals of the CAF Champions League, following a goalless draw with Egyptian giants Al-Ahly on Sunday.

De Sa said the fact that Chiefs had an extra day to prepare for Tuesday's encounter gave them the upper hand, allowing their players enough time to recover from the weekend's action.

"We'd love to have had an extra day's rest, but that's part of the game," De Sa said on Monday.

"We get given the fixtures and we have to plan around it.

"It is a slight advantage, but there's nothing we can do.

"We just have to get on with it.

"The difference of three or four days is not big.

"But the difference between one and two days can be problematic for us."

Daine Klate scored the only goal of the match on August 24 to hand Pirates a slender advantage heading into Tuesday's encounter. De Sa believes it will be vital for the Pirates camp to shift its focus from the Champions League to the heroics of the local cup competition.

"As far as the Champions League is concerned, to be honest, I'm only thinking Chiefs right now," De Sa said.

"We have to refocus quickly. We know Chiefs will come at us and we know they are capable of that.

"They're hungry and coming from behind. It's going to be tough."

Meanwhile, Amakhosi boss Stuart Baxter called for a committed effort from his troops.

"When you get onto the field, there can be no other option than to beat your opponent. We need to go there. We need to have total focus on winning the game in the 90 minutes in front of us."

Baxter opted to rest a number of his senior players for Saturday's game.

The Briton said the nature of the season necessitated rotating players on a game-to-game basis.

"We were resting some of the players, not because we had an important game coming up against Pirates, but because looking at the games ahead, I felt it was the only opportunity to give some of the players a rest," Baxter said.

"I think the fact that we (Chiefs) had an extra day to prepare only becomes an advantage if we use it.

"I will take the extra day because I wouldn't like to be in Roger's shoes and not have the extra day.... It's a potential bonus for us, but we have to use it."

In Tuesday's other semi-final, Platinum Stars will travel to Wits leading 4-2 on aggregate.

Wits' coach Gavin Hunt conceded that the score-line heavily favoured the Rustenburg outfit, but said Wits would have the freedom to push for the result, allowing them the freedom to go all out.

"It's quite plain and simple.

"All my players know what needs to be done tomorrow," Hunt said.

"To get the first goal is important.

"We are focused on playing against Platinum Stars.

"The final is not on our mind.

"We have to give our supporters something to smile about before the season ends."

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