Lorch was shown a straight red card by referee Mxolisi Bambiso shortly before half time, after retaliating, in an incident that also saw Puleng Tlolane sent off for City.

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The 26 year-old has failed to repeat the heroics of last season that saw him pick up the PSL Footballer of the Season award, and will now be suspended for Pirates’ final two league games before Christmas, against Baroka FC on December 7 and Black Leopards on December 21.

Lorch was also lucky not to be sent off in the Telkom Knockout quarterfinal against Kaizer Chiefs earlier this month, after appearing to stamp on Khama Billiat at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, and has cut a frustrated figure at times in a Pirates shirt, perhaps also frustrated after an off-season move to France failed to materialise.

Mokwena did say that the red card for Lorch on Tuesday as the correct decision, but still gave an impassioned defence of his attacker.

“We forget he is the reigning Footballer of the Season, sometimes I think we put undue pressure on him, because of social media, and some things he reads … I tell him he is still the best player in the country, so he has nothing to prove to anybody,” said Mokwena.

“Today’s incident, as much as it was definitely a red card, it was unfortunate, because he was fouled, and the ball was (then) kicked towards him. With a bit more emotional intelligence, he could have avoid it (the red card). It was different to the Chiefs game and we can’t be too critical. He is still the best player in the country, someone who wants to argue can argue … the reigning Footballer of the Season award is at Thembinkosi Lorch’s house.”


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