Vermezovic hopeful of Orlando Pirates victory

Orlando Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic hopes his team will have the mental tenacity to finish the Premiership season in the top half of the standings.

Pirates settled for a 1-1 draw against Platinum Stars at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

The Buccaneers, who held at least one game in hand over most of their opponents, were lying fifth in the top-flight league table with three matches remaining.

"We have a very tough schedule. Some clubs are not going to play again until May 6, and we have to play every few days," Vermezovic said.

"On Wednesday, we have a very big game against Wits and after that we're going to Durban for a [Nedbank Cup] semifinal game, and then we play in QwaQwa and again in Durban.

"We will try to win as many games as possible and we'll see what happens at the end of the day."

Siphelele Mthembu put the visitors in front shortly after the half-hour mark, netting a header from a well-constructed set-piece, and substitute Lennox Bacela equalised for the hosts with less than 30 minutes remaining.

Pirates were fortunate not to concede a penalty in the closing stages when Mduduzi Nyanda was brought down in the area and the referee controversially allowed play to continue.

'Criticise the decision'
Stars coach Allan Freese, however, refused to criticise the decision after the match, as his side climbed one position to eighth in the table.

"I'm not going to talk about the penalty. Just now I get in trouble with the officials," Freese said.

"You saw it, you know what happened, so I'm going to leave it at that. I think we had a good game overall."

Vermezovic, meanwhile, was also diplomatic about the decision.

"You only get a penalty when the referee points to the spot. We can talk, we can analyse but if the referee doesn't say yes, it's not a penalty." – Sapa

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