CAF Confederation Cup Group B: Leopards vs Orlando Pirates
Posted: 27 June 2015 Time: 15:08
Orlando Pirates beat AC Leopards 1-0 in their CAF Confederation Cup Group B opener in Dolisie, Republic of Congo on Saturday afternoon.
Happy Jele scored the decisive goal just before the hour-mark in a scrappy and largely unwatchable game thanks to a very poor and bumpy surface
There was little action early on, with the sub-standard surface at Denis Sassou Nguesso Stadium not helping matters.
Pirates goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo had his first real test 15 minutes in, doing well to beat away a thunderous free-kick by Jean Abouna following a high foot from Thabo Matlaba.
At the other end, Lennox Bacela, who was bandaged after taking a knock to the head, fashioned space in the box to shoot but his effort lacked power and was easily gathered.
The hosts threatened just before the interval but Bhebey Ndey headed wide following a left-wing cross from Dimitri Bissiki before Mhlongo pulled off an acrobatic stop.
The second half started with little goalmouth action until the 59th minute when Jele found himself in the right place on the edge of the area to give Pirates the lead. Issa Sarr knocked the ball back into the box and it bounced off a Leopards player before dropping to the defender, who finished smartly with a low volley.
Eric Tinkler brought on Thandani Ntshumayelo for Kermit Erasmus in the 75th minute to shore up the midfield as the Buccaneers looked to contain Leopards and hit them on the counter-attack in a scrappy closing period. Lehlohonolo Majoro came on for Lennox Bacela in the last 10 minutes.
Pirates parked the bus relatovely comfortably in the closing stages and looked to hit Leopards in the counter. Mhlongo commanded his area well to relieve the pressure when needed and Sarr put his body on the line heroically in the final minute of stoppage time to preserve three valuable away points.
Leopards: Lutunu, Ndzana, Mombo, Andzouana, Ngounga, Bissiki, Ndey, Ndougsa, Kalema, Akoll, Gandze, Nkodia, Bidimbou, Mlangounina, Mohikola
Pirates: Mhlongo, Nyauza, Jele, Sangweni, Matlaba, Sarr, Manyisa, Rakhale, Myeni, Bacela (Majoro 81'), Erasmus (Ntshumayelo 75')
Subs: Zikalala, Phungwayo, Masalesa, Ntshumayelo, Qalinge, Makola, Majoro