CAF Champions League match report Orlando Pirates v Esperance de Tunis 02 February 2019
Posted: 2 February 2019 Time: 18:01
Orlando Pirates maintained top spot in Group B in the CAF Champions League following their goalless draw with Esperance on Saturday night.
Milutin Sredojevic made three changes from the team that lost to Black Leopards in the Nedbank Cup, as Wayne Sandilands got a rare start in goals while Marshall Munetsi and Ben Motshwari also earned starting berths.
Esperance had the same record as Pirates coming to the match with four points after drawing one and winning another one of their two games in the group.
After surviving a scare from the visitors’ free-kick situation, Milutin Sredojevic’s charges carved out their best chance through Justin Shonga in the tenth minute, with the Zambian firing just wide of the upright.
The hosts had a strong penalty appeal in the 28th minute after Thembinkosi Lorch was brought down inside the box with a studs-up challenge, but the referee failed to take any action against the Esperance defence.
There was more controversy at the end of the half when Shonga scored what appeared to be a legitimate goal but it was disallowed for offside, despite the replay suggesting the striker was onside.
Vincent Pule almost broke the deadlock for Bucs five minutes into the second stanza with a powerful strike after cutting inside, but his left-footed strike deflected just over the crossbar.
Esperance defender Chamseddine Dhaouadi almost scored an unfortunate own goal with a poor clearance at the near post, but Jeridi showed great reflexes to keep the ball out while Pule was unable finish off the rebound.
Sredojevic sharpened his attack with 20 minutes to play as striker Augustine Mulenga came on for Pule as the Serbian tactician went all out with two strikers up front.
Innocent Maela had a glorious chance to snatch the lead for Pirates nine minutes before time after charging inside the box but as he was about to pull the trigger, he lost his footing and the visitors’ defence blocked the tame shot.
Both sides had a couple half-chances in the latter stages of the game, but neither could break the deadlock and they had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Pirates: Sandilands, Ndengane, Mbekile, Maela, Munetsi, Motshwari, Nyatama, Mlambo, Pule, Lorch, Shonga.
Subs: Mabokgwane, Da Silva, Mntambo, Mako, Mahachi, Mulenga.