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MTN8: How Highlands Park stopped Orlando Pirates - Da Gama

The Lions of the North boss has heaped praise on how they fought to neutralize the Buccaneers at Orlando Stadium

Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama has explained how he worked out a plan to nullify Orlando Pirates in their MTN8 1-0 win at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.

Despite losing three of his players through injury during the Wafa Wafa clash, ‘ODG’ has disclosed how they closed down the likes of Augustine Mulenga and Thembinkosi Lorch, while praising his players and technical team.

The loss for the Soweto giants became the third in all competitions in one week, thus adding more woes to their camp after parting ways with coach Milutin Sredojevic on Friday.

“I thought we were a little bit lucky in some instances. You win some of the games like this but you lose games like this as well,” Da Gama told SuperSport TV.

“I thought the guys defended really well, we worked very hard. The technical team must take credit for a very good tactical display,” he added.

Speaking of his plan to stop coach Rulani Mokwena’s troops who were threatening his men, the former Bafana Bafana assistant coach admitted his side was unlucky to lose key players such as Lindokuhle Mbatha and Makhehleni Makhaula.

“From a tactical perspective we nullified them. The Mulengas, the Lorch's, those are x-factors, we negated their attacks,” added Da Gama.

“But all credit must go to the players, they worked their socks off. I mean we’ve had three forced changes with injuries. Luck was not on our side, but these things happen in football,” he praised.

In addition, the former Pirates player has urged his men to consolidate their goals, stating the importance of doubling their lead as the Buccaneers came knocking for an equalizer.

“You’ve got to learn to consolidate in the PSL. Teams win 1-0, you get a goal, you consolidate. You make it as difficult as possible for them,” he expressed.

“We paid our school fees last season, where we were leading 1-0, 2-0, we allowed them to come back. The team is growing. We’re getting there,” concluded ‘ODG’.

For the 1996 African champions, Pirates have failed to reach the semi-finals of the knockout competition for the second season after losing to SuperSport United in the previous term.

Meanwhile, the victory sees the Tembisa-based side through to the semi-finals of the competition joining Mamelodi Sundowns, Polokwane City and the fourth semi-finalist will be decided when Bidvest Wits meet Amatsantsantsa A Pitori on Sunday.