Bucs can go top – Tinkler

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Goals by Thabo Rakhale and Menzi Masuku on Saturday night proved enough for the Sea Robbers to grab the much-needed three points which keep them in the running for a top two finish with just two games remaining for them to play in the group.

Pirates are now on nine points after having played four games in Group B.

Tinkler said their win against the three-time Confederations Cup champions came at a crucial time, as it will serves as a momentum booster for them building up to the remaining group stage fixtures.

“Qualifying for the semis has been our primary objective since we started in this campaign,” Tinkler said. “However, we would also love to win the group. We’ve got two games remaining and we believe it is possible. I think it’d be much better for us to play our first game in the semis away from home, get a result there and come back and dominate them on home turf. We’ve been doing well in our away games and we want to continue with that momentum into the semis.

“We don’t want to find ourselves in the same situation as as was the case in 2013 when we drew 0-0 with Esperance in the Champions league and had to go there and fight for a good result to keep us in the running. I believe winning the group will guarantee us this crucial away fixture we need.”

Tinkler and his charges will now have to shift their focus to the domestic league as they travel to Polokwane tomorrow for their first Absa Premiership match against SuperSport United at Peter Mokaba Stadium. The last time these two sides met it was in the second round last season with Pirates winning 4-1.

The 45-year-old coach warned that Pirates cannot afford to go into this game thinking Matsatsantsa A Petori are going to be a walk in the park.

He also said Bucs’ upcoming PSL fixtures could serve as the perfect opportunity for players who have not had game time during the CAF competition to show their worth.

“Having said that, I don’t believe in the rotation of players. If a player is doing well and isn’t showing any signs of fatigue, why deny them a chance to play?

“You see this with the big clubs playing in Europe. They always have a consistent squad playing in every competition they participate in and they do that very well without fatigue being a major concern for them. It’s a lot to do about how you manage your players and the amount of time you give them to recuperate for each and every game they play in. That’s what we’ve been doing so far.”

Meanwhile CS Sfaxien coach Paulo Duarte praised Pirates for their form in this continental cup race, saying they’ve got what it takes to make it all the way to the final. “They can be weaker in the local league or lose a game but in Africa they are something else,” Duarte said.

“We came here with few expectations of winning. We knew Pirates were going to be an even tougher side to beat at home because they showed us in Tunisia that they are a quality line-up. It’s my prediction that they will be contesting with the likes of Al Ahly or Zamalek for the title. In my opinion these three teams are the best club teams in Africa.” - The Star

Original source: Bucs can go top – Tinkler

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