South Africa
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Focus is not on early goal, says Bucs skipper

Orlando Pirates captain Innocent Maela has reiterated that they are not obsessing about getting an early goal against Jwaneng Galaxy at Orlando Stadium on Friday (7.30pm).

Pirates and Jwaneng face off in the second leg of the CAF Champions League second preliminary phase. Jwaneng, who are the reigning league champions of Botswana, won the away leg 1-0 two weeks ago.

“When you play a match, you play for 90 minutes, right? So, if you score early, it’s good but if you score before halftime or just after it’s also good, as long as you put the ball in the back of the net,'' Maela said during a media conference at Rand Stadium on Thursday.

“We are not going into matches thinking to score within the first 10 minutes or the first 15 minutes. We don’t go with that idea we just need to go out there and execute the plan and we believe the goal will come eventually.”

The Sea Robbers skipper also dismissed the notion, held by some, that they were complacent in the first leg in Botswana, hence Jwaneng stunned them. “We don’t speak about complacency, we don’t have that in our club,'' Maela insisted.

“Were we surprised [to be beaten by Jwaneng in the first leg]? Not at all because it’s a Champions League match. We expected a tough match, a very competitive match and a very tactical match and that’s what we got.''

Maela also underlined their dream of securing a spot in the group stages of the Champions League as they aim to gauge their credentials against the continent’s best.

“To find ourselves in the group stages of the Champions League will mean everything, so that we’ll be able to compete against the best the continent has to offer. That’s what we want ... that’s our ambition as a group.''