Orlando Pirates clinch crucial win away from home

Orlando Pirates players celebrates a victory during the CAF Confederation Cup 202122 quarterfinal match between Orlando Pirates and Simba at Orlando Stadium, Johannesburg on 24 April 2022

First half goals from Innocent Maela and Goodman Mosele handed Orlando Pirates a vital 2-0 win away against Al Ahli Tripoli in the first leg of their TotalEnergies CAF Champions League semi-final fixture in Benghazi on Sunday.

The victory puts Pirates firmly in control of the tie and will only need to avoid defeat in the return tie in Johannesburg next weekend to earn their place in the final.

Despite being deprived of possession in the opening half, Pirates made the most of the little time they had with the ball.

They gave themselves an early eighth minute lead when Maela reacted quickest to head the ball home after the Ahli keeper had punched Kwame Peprah’s initial header kindly into his path.

Ahli had the possession, passing the ball around the pack with ease, but they couldn’t unlock the water-tight Pirates defense. And, their fight was made even harder in the 29th minute when Mosele doubled the score with a brilliant effrt.

Mosele picked up the ball at the edge of the box off a Peprah cross, controlled with his first touch and fired a brilliant shot on the volley with his second for a 2-0 lead.

In the second half, the home side were up again on the front foot, but their biggest undoing was poor coordination in the final third.

Pirates had the chances and in the 58th minute, Dean Hotto should have punished Ahli with a third goal when he collected the ball behind the defense but his left footed shot one on one with the keeper was well saved.

In the 67th minute, Peprah flicked a long ball to Bandile Shandu, the latter going for an effort on the volley but the ball didn’t gather enough pace, the keeper making an easy save.

The closest Ahli came to scoring was in the 80th minute when substitute Mohamed Makkari tried an effort on the volley from the edge of the box, but it rolled wide. Mohamed El Fekir also had a late chance with a freekick, but curled it over the bar.

Ahli will now need a huge performance away from home next weekend, to keep their dream of a final alive.