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Tinkler promises a different Bucs in semis

Orlando Pirates coach Eric Tinkler has promised his team will be a different kettle of fish in their Nedbank Cup semifinal tomorrow (Goble Park, 3pm), though Bucs will hope Giovanni Solinas's plucky Free State Stars don't see the Buccaneers as big fish to fry.

Bucs have repeated their frustrating trend in 2015-16 of, once hitting a high, sagging to a new low soon after. Pirates' high point of the second half of the season came with a 10-man, 2-0 victory against Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank quarters. Bucs have not won since in four league games, culminating in a deflating defeat at Chippa United this week.

Tinkler was alarmed at his side's defensive frailties against a Chippa side moving the ball superbly.

"I look at the last three performances we've had - the game against Chippa was probably our best," he said.

"Against Maritzburg United [last Saturday] we were giving the ball away very cheaply. Against Chippa I thought we kept it a lot better and got quite a few combinations going, in terms of our movement and trying to get into positive areas.

"What one needs to remember is you're going into a semifinal that the players are all well aware of, where they know that winning a trophy could be our saving grace this season."

Bucs face a Stars side who have been hard to beat under Italian nice guy Solinas.

Ea Lla Koto were at it again, giving Kaizer Chiefs a scare at Goble Park on Wednesday, taking the lead twice in a 2-2 league draw.

Stars have dropped to 11th in the league on the back of six matches without a win. But in Solinas's 19 matches since his arrival in late December, the Free Staters have impressed with their resilient football, winning seven games and drawing six. Solinas believes the performance against Chiefs will give his side confidence going into their semifinal.

"Stars played a fantastic game. The boys were fantastic, and I thought we deserved to win," the coach said. "The weekend [against Pirates] is a difficult game. We prepared for it very well with this game."

Part of Pirates' lack of form has come from the goals drying up for prolific Tendai Ndoro, who has not scored since the quarterfinal win against Sundowns on April 23. Danny Venter is Stars' top scorer, but the emerging strike partnership of Ayanda Nkosi and Sello Japhta cause problems with their work-rate and will need to be closely watched by Bucs.


Staff writter

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