Orlando Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer has praised goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands as his side produced a spirited performance away to Angolan side Sagrada Esperanca in their first round first leg Caf Confederation Cup encounter on Tuesday afternoon.
In his third start of the season at Estadio dos Coqueiros in Luanda, Sandilands managed to keep a clean sheet in difficult conditions with Pirates narrowly edging Esperanca 1-0 thanks to a lone strike from Thembinkoch Lorch.
Sandilands has struggled for game time at Pirates this season, where newly signed Richard Ofori has dominated the number one spot.
“We know what we have with Sandilands, he is a top keeper in this league, and I am happy to have him in my team,” said the German tactician.
“He produced a good performance against Esperanza,” he added, as Sandilands made the most of a rare opportunity to don the black and white jersey of Pirates this campaign.
The 37-year-old shot-stopper has now kept two clean sheets in three matches in all competitions this season.
— Wayne Sandilands (@waynesandilands) December 22, 2020
Zinnbauer was pleased with how his men performed, stating that they were outstanding in remaining focused on what had to be done in tough conditions.
“Yes, it was a tough game for us, the weather was very hot, and the field was not so good, uh, long grass and bouncing a little bit with the ball,” said Zinnbauer.
“We got better in the game, against a very strong defence, with man-marking systems, it’s not easy for our players – we have special players on the field, they want more space, they want the one against ones, but when you’ve always got an opponent on your back, it’s not so easy.”
“But they did a good job today. and the result especially, a team effort today, and congratulations to Lorch, he made a top goal today, and it’s important for us, an away goal, and we don’t concede, and that is important for us.”
Pirates take an important 1-0 lead into the second leg which will be played at Orlando Stadium in January 5/6, a few days after their first match of the new year, which is a league encounter against Mamelodi Sundowns on Jan 2.
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By FARPost Reporter
all pictures courtesy of Orlando Pirates