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Milutin Sredojevic reflects on Orlando Pirates' friendly against TP Mazembe

Posted: 13 July 2018 Time: 12:25

Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic has reflected on their opening friendly match in Zambia against Congolese giants TP Mazembe.

The two sides played to a goalless stalemate behind closed doors at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on Thursday afternoon.

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The match was divided into thirds, with two lasting 45 minutes and the final ending after 30 minutes, but neither team were able to prevail.

Sredojevic has since assessed his side's performance and, despite the lack of goals, was left impressed by the tempo and flow of the encounter.

“We played a total of 120 minutes of football against TP Mazembe – one of the best teams in Sub-Saharan Africa," 'Micho' told his club's website.

"Maybe the match came early for us, but we are happy with the result because it has set the criteria and standards that we need to reach in order to compete in Africa.

“This Mazembe team won the 2015 CAF Champions League title and won back-to-back CAF Confederation Cup titles in 2016 and 2017, and this is the standard we consistently needed to keep up with throughout the match.

“It was a tough and competitive game because of the difference in the level of competitiveness between the two teams; we are from a break and in preparation for a new season, while they are competing regularly.

“It was two-way traffic though, despite the levels, with both teams attacking each other like boxers. We believe that this experience has benefited our young players a lot, especially in helping them understand what it means to play in Africa and against strong opposition that plays in continental competition.”

READ: 'Micho's men must write own page'

The Buccaneers will be returning to the continent this coming season, with CAF competition preparing for a calendar shift that runs concurrent to that of Europe and more notably the Premier Soccer League from 2019/20.

The 2018/19 edition will kick off in November and is scheduled to end in May, in time for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations finals, which starts in June in Cameroon.

The domestic Absa Premiership campaign, meanwhile, is set to get underway on August 4.

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First-third line-up:

Khuzwayo (GK), Jele, Shitolo, Motshwari, Makola, Mlambo, Mbekile, Maphanga, Mahlonoko, Shonga, Pule.

Second-third line-up:

Sandilands (GK), Nyauza, Chabalala, Thopola, Dube, Mabaso, Mapangule, Mntambo, Mahachi, Mulenga, Lepasa. 

Final-third line-up:

Mabokgwane (GK), Caio Marcelo (on trial), Munetsi, Maela, Hlongwa, Nyatama, Maphangule, Lorch, Qalinge, Mulenga, Gabuza.

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Article by: Chad Klate (@CKlatey)
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