De Sa expects 'gamesmanship'

Roger De Sa (Gallo)
Roger De Sa (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Ahead of their crucial Caf Champions League second-leg final fixture against Al Ahly, Orlando Pirates coach Roger De Sa says he is expecting a fair amount of “gamesmanship” from the Egyptians.

"I don't expect to see too many ball boys [in Cairo],” De Sa said jokingly after the first leg.

“So if the ball goes out we might wait quite a while to get it back, but that's the gamesmanship the goes with this competition."

Thabo Matlaba scored in additional time to salvage a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the final in Soweto, after Pirates had conceded an early goal from a memorable Mohamed Aboutrika free-kick.

But despite his fears of time-wasting and other similar influences on the game, De Sa said his team could not afford to concern themselves with factors out of their control.

"These are things we have to overcome and get better at it and try to win the game when we have the ball," the former Moroka Swallows goalkeeper said.

"We're not going to be in control of everything they do, so we just have to do what we are supposed to do well and to the best of our ability.

"That's all we can do and hopefully that will be enough."

Despite being given permission from Egypt's military authorities to play the game in Cairo, the Egyptian side had since been denied the opportunity to play the game in the Cairo International Stadium.

Afraid of large gatherings in the wake of political unrest, Al Ahly would now host the match in the 30 000-seater Arab Contractors Stadium.

With the final played over two legs, home and away, Ahly headed into their home leg with the advantage of having scored an away goal.

The Buccaneers would need to look for ways to break down the Ahly defence, particularly as De Sa did not expect the seven-time African champions to change their tactics too much.

"We're going to be guessing the whole week what they're going to do,” he said.

"I don't expect them to change too much… maybe a little higher up the field.

"We have to practice how we can break them down and I think we have the players and the ability to do that.

"I expect them to be cautious. They'll still play their normal formation with Aboutrika behind the striker, eight players behind the ball, keeping very narrow and very disciplined.”

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