CAF Confederation Cup semi-final first leg: Orlando Pirates vs Al-Ahly
Posted: 26 September 2015 Time: 16:32
An early strike from Thamsanqa Gabuza ensured Orlando Pirates a 1-0 victory over Al Ahly in their first leg CAF Confederation Cup semi-final at the Orlando Stadium.
The visitors got the match off to a positive start as they surged forward from the onset, but it ended with Ovono comfortably collecting a low cross from the right flank.
The first real attempt on goal came in the 5th minute when Zakareya found space in behind Gcaba, but the midfielder's shot went wide of the Pirates goal.
Bucs responded immediately as Kermit Erasmus found space down the left flank and delivered a cross, which was slightly too strong for Gabuza to meet ahead of Ahly goalkeeper Ekrami.
Tinker’s side continued the pressure and were rewarded in the 9th minute, when Myeni skipped past three defenders to find Erasmus on the left, who delivered a well-placed cross for Gabuza to tap home at the near-post.
The home side were buoyed by the early goal and continued pressing forward in numbers, with the likes of Matlaba and Ntshumayelo also joining in attack.
Pirates won a free-kick in a good area outside the Ahly box, after Gabuza was brought down, but Makola’s well-taken effort towards the top right-hand corner was superbly dealt with by Ekrami.
Ahly then came close on the half-hour mark as Ovono was forced into a reflex stop at his near-post after Zakareya’s effort took a deflection and rattled the post.
Pirates then tried to slow things down ahead of the half-time break as they sat back and allowed the away side to retain possession towards the centre circle.
Al Ahly came out a different side in the second stanza as Bucs goalkeeper Ovono was tested as early the 49th minute through a long-range effort.
Three minutes later Thabo Matlaba had an opportunity at the other end, as he cut in-field and unleashed a tame effort from just outside the area, which was comfortably dealt with by Ekrami.
Tinkler introduced Sarr in place of Thandani Ntshumayelo as Ahly’s attack were looking threatening, before bringing on Majoror for Erasmus.
However, the change produced little change in attack and ironically allowed The Red Devils an advantage as they continued pressing on the Pirates defense.
Despite enjoying more possession, the visitors were unable to get the better of Ovono, who displayed great maturity and experience in marshalling his back four.
Bucs take a slender 1-0 aggregate lead to Cairo, as they now look to defend it when they face Al Ahly in the second leg next weekend.
Pirates XI: Ovono; Nyauza, Mahamutsa, Gcaba, Matlaba, Masalesa, Ntshumayelo (Sarr 65'), Makola, Myeni, Gabuza, Erasmus (Majoro 71').
Subs: Gumede, Sarr, Memela, Rakhale, Qalinge, Masuku, Majoro.
Ahly XI: Ekrami; Hani, Samir, Naguib, Rahil; Fathi, Ashour, El-Said, Zakareya (Saleh 71'), Sobhi; Antwi.