Orlando Pirates coach Mandla Ncikazi says the Petro de Luanda match serves as a warning on how they need to prepare for their 2nd leg CAF Confederation Cup semi-final.
Pirates hold a 2-0 advantage over Al Ahli having won in Benghazi last week and are favourites to progress to the final when they host the Libyan giants at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.
But Ncikazi says their away goals don’t automatically put them in the final and cited the threat Petro showed against Wydad Atheltic Club of Friday on how Ahli may come out the blocks.
“We’re in a very good position, yet very dangerous, the lesson is the match that was played last night between Luanda and Wydad, where the opponents will be fighting so hard to score early,” Ncikazi said.
“So one; we need to be sensible in the way we approach the match, approach the match with caution while we’re playing at home, knowing the opponents will try and score early but it’s important that we’re the ones who score early to control the game.
“Tomorrow we’ll just focus on being in control, adapt to what the opponents might pose with their tall strikers towards the end, they play two strikers, tall strikers [for a] direct game – but again we’re at home and want to impose our [own] game and we must play to win, it’s important for our team going into the final. We’re prepared and we’re adaptable.”
He went on to state that any talk of who they may face in the final between RS Berkane and TP Mazembe has been put on ice as they are not ready to risk any form of complacency against the side who topped their group en route to the knockout stages – ahead of the likes of CS Sfaxien and Pyramids.
“I don’t want to jump the gun let’s play the match tomorrow, for me, the final is the one that we’re playing tomorrow because if you think about the final before the final – what happens if you lose this one, so for me, we’re putting all the energy [into Al Ahly] then we’ll deal after what happens once we win tomorrow,” Ncikazi added.
“If you don’t play the match tomorrow, we’re buried, you are dead, so we’ve put all of our focus and energy on the match tomorrow, one step at a time then we’ll deal with what comes after the next match.”
Pirates will play host to the 12-time Libyan champions on Sunday afternoon in Soweto at 18h00.
Final training session for Pirates ahead of the 2nd leg semi-final tomorrow.
— Lorenz Köhler (@Lorenz_KO) May 14, 2022