|Lucky Lekgwathi © Gallo Images
Orlando Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi said they will fight to the end to defend the Absa Premiership title this season.
The Bucs skipper said Friday night’s 1-1 draw with Ajax Cape Town was not the worst result for the title-chasing Soweto giants.
Lekgwathi notched up his 21st league goal when he scored just three minutes after George Maluleka had given Ajax the lead.
“Thanks to the almighty God for giving me the power to run up and down at my age! And my team-mates and our technical team, and thanks to the coach for believing in me,” said Lekgwathi of his man-of-the-match performance.
“Not an easy team to beat – Ajax are a good side and compliments to them, they played well and gave us a hard time. There is still hope, we will keep on working hard until the last second of the season,” added the former Ria Stars defender.
For Buccaneers coach Augusto Palacious is was a case of his side not making the most of their chances.
“We played well, especially second half we had two or three clear chances.
“We controlled the game, with Ajax’s three players in the midfield we tried to put numbers in there also – we were much better than previous game – we created chances but must continue to work.
“If we do the basics we will score. But in football its happening. We never lost the game, we have not lost hope of the league.”
Palacious went on to explain his decision to partner Benni McCarthy with Namibian Rudolf Bester, when the likes of Tokelo Rantie, Ndumiso Mabena and Bongani Ndulula are other options.
“Performance keeps a player in the team, no performance, no keeping. Bester did well in the first half, but later got a bit tired because he was up and down. We will continue to rotate, we will vary things until we understand the combination.”
Ajax coach Maarten Stekelenburg was pleased with the showing of his side, who he felt were good enough on the night to beat the defending champs.
“We played two good halves. There were moments where we lost a bit of control, but for most of the game we controlled and we got the better chances.
“Overall, if one team had to win tonight, I think we would be that team.
“When you see tonight’s game – then you can see definitely we are able to control the game against the team that is top of the log and get the better opportunities, it shows we should be in the top four.
“But when we say we belong there, we have to do it, not only talking, talking is on the field I always say.”