Pirates Looking To Benefit From Champions League Campaign

22 Nov 2013 15:07pm

PIRATES LOOKING TO BENEFIT FROM CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CAMPAIGN Orlando Pirates will look to use the momentum of a successful run in the Caf Champions League to their advantage when they return to domestic action this weekend. ?We?re looking forward to this. We?re very excited to be playing in the Knockout,? Pirates coach Roger de Sa said ahead of Saturday?s Telkom semi-final fixture against SuperSport United in Atteridgeville, near Pretoria. ?We want to keep that momentum going. It's good to be back in the country.? Pirates have had to put their local campaign on hold after their impressive showing in the Champions League, reaching the final where they were eventually beaten 3-1 on aggregate by Egyptian side Al Ahly earlier this month. Pirates headed into the knockout fixture having already beaten United once this season, advancing to the semi-finals of the MTN8 Cup competition by narrowly edging the Pretoria team on penalties. The game ended 2-2 following extra-time, but Pirates held their nerve, winning 4-3 thanks to a superior display from the penalty spot. Less impressive however, was the fact that the Buccaneers had already reached two finals since August -- the MTN8 and the Champions League --but missing out on both occasions. Platinum Stars beat De Sa?s outfit in the final of the local cup competition, before Ahly lifted their eighth African title in Cairo. De Sa said Pirates were hungry for success, and hoped the Soweto giants would make it through to their third final before going the distance and lifting the trophy. "We always prepare the team as best as we can. We get to the final every time, but we want to put the cherry on the top by winning,? De Sa said. ?But we have to be at our best if we want to get past SuperSport. I don?t think we played badly in either of the finals. I thought we were pretty good and we weren't outplayed.? SuperSport?s Cavin Johnson, meanwhile, said the difference between winning and losing was simply a question of which team grabbed the opportunities. ?It all boils down to the 90 minutes ?and who wants it more,? Johnson said. ?Hopefully, this week the SuperSport players are that much more geared to take it to the next level.? Both coaches agreed one player who could prove crucial to the result was Kermit Erasmus, who joined Pirates from SuperSport four months ago and had been in good form for his new team. ?It wasn?t easy losing him to Pirates. When you play for Pirates, you have to be that special,? Johnson said of his former player. ?That?s what Kermit brings to the table. But knowing who he is and what he is, we?ll try and nullify those special moments and try and keep him as quiet as possible. ?Kermit is a special player and he has a lot to offer as far as the Pirates line-up is concerned.? Erasmus was not eligible to play for the Sea Robbers during the Champions League as he had been involved in United?s Caf Confederations Cup campaign before transferring to Pirates. "Kermit was dearly missed by us. We felt that there were many instances and many games where we wished we could have had him registered with us for the Caf championship,? De Sa said. ?We?ve used him in every other competition where we can, so we know what he brings to the club and what he can bring us. ?We?re very glad to have him available to play from here on in.? Sapa /pvr/jlb