Pirates reach Confed Cup final in style

Pirates reach Confed Cup final in style

Sifiso-Myeni-2013-VsAhlyOrlando Pirates beat Egyptian giants Al Ahly 4-3 (5-3 on aggregate) in the semifinal second leg of the CAF Confederation Cup in a match held at Suez Stadium in Egypt on Sunday night.

The win takes the Buccaneers to the final of the tournament where they will meet Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia.

Ahly got the match off on a high with the hosts putting the Sea Robbers under pressure as Eric Tinkler’s men conceded a free kick but Bekhit’s attempt was off target, failing to trouble Felipe Ovono.

Ovono was the busiest of the two keepers as he continued to receive threats from the Egyptians but he was stable as he made another save to deny the Red Devils with defenders Happy Jele and Ayanda Gcaba a bit shaky at the back.

However, after 10 minutes of play, Tinkler’s men settled in the game and made good moves going forward although they couldn’t trouble Sherif Ekramy.

With the hosts failing to find the early goal in the 30th minute, Malick Evouna wasted a chance as he blasted his shot over the bar from six-yards out following a great set up by John Antwi four minutes later.

With the visitors starting to enjoy more possession from the middle of the park with combinations between Mpho Makola, Lehlohonolo Masalesa and Thandani Ntshumayelo, they couldn’t penetrate Ahly’s defence in the final third.

A few minutes later, Gcaba delivered a great cross from the left into the box. Ahly cleared the danger but the ball fell on Sifiso Myeni’s path, only for his shot to go wide off Ekrami’s posts.

However, with just three minutes to go to the interval, the Red Devils found the back of the net through Evouna as he beat the offside trap and beat the oncoming Ovono to pass the ball into an empty net.

The hosts continued where they left off in the second half and in the 53rd minute, Evouna completed his brace when he was unmarked in the box to easily head home following a quick counter attack.

Tinkler made changes after the 55th minute and brought in Kermit Erasmus for Lehlohonolo Majoro and replaced Myeni with Thabo Rakhale.

His changes paid dividends three minutes later when Erasmus beat Ekrami with a beautiful curler on the far post in the box after a great delivery from the right.

Fathy Mabrouk’s men continued to pile pressure on the Buccaneers’ defence as he parried Evouna’s effort resulting from a free kick in the 71st minute.

However, Tinkler also took Thandani Ntshumayelo off and introduced Issa Sarr in the middle of the park and three minutes later, Thamsanqa Gabuza silenced the crowds when his shot was deflected into the net to score an equaliser beating Ekrami.

It was the visitors who were rejuvenated when Matlaba capitalised on a defensive error by the goalkeeper and his defence in the 85th minute, the Bafana Bafana international entered the penalty area and coolly beat Ekrami but it was not the end of the feast as Gamal cancelled Matlaba’s strike in the 90th minute to make it 3-3.

With just few seconds to the final whistle, a pass from the left by Makola picked Rakhale on the edge of the area and he easily slotted home to hand Tinkler’s men a 4-3 win.

Article:Madoda Ntuli

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