Pirates in Champions League Final


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Bucs, who face either Al Ahly or Coton Sport in next month's showpiece decider, advanced via the away goals rule, with Rooi Mahamutsa netting a crucial 51st minute opener at the Olympic Stadium of Rades.

Iheb Msakni equalised four minutes later but it was not enough for the Tunisian giants following the goalless stalemate in the first leg at Orlando Stadium.

The result helped ease the disappointment of 2006, when Pirates were knocked out of the event at the semi-final stage by another Tunisian outfit, CS Sfaxien.

Esperance dictated the pace of the game early on, and thrice, around the half-hour mark, triggered unconvincing stops from Senzo Meyiwa, who needed the woodwork to assist at one stage.

The Buccaneers goalkeeper was not helped by having a green laser shone into his eyes throughout the contest courtesy of some of the home support.

Earlier, Pirates winger Tlou Segolela had a great chance to score in the 18th minute when put through one-on-one with the keeper but opted to cross to Lennox Bacela, with his delivery easily intercepted.

The Sea Robbers showed intent straight after the break, with Bacela squeezing a shot wide before Daine Klate's close range header was brilliantly foiled by Moez Ben Cherifa in the 49th minute.

Mahamutsa broke the deadlock soon after as he headed in a Segolela corner from the right at the near post.

The lead was short-lived, though, as Msakni swept in a right-wing cross in the 55th minute.

Stand-in captain Happy Jele then headed a Segolela cross from the right on to the upright, with Bacela blasting over on the rebound.

However, Roger de Sa's men, who were playing their 14th game of the competition, ultimately held their nerve to thwart the two-time continental champions, despite some tense moments in the closing stages.

The Final will take place across two legs, with the opening duel scheduled for the first weekend of November. 

Pirates are the only South African side to have won CAF's premier club tournament, achieving the feat in 1995.

Esperance: Ben Cherifa, Derbali, Chemmam, Dhaouadi, Ben Mansour, Ragued, Aouadhi, Afful (Akaichi 57’), Belaili, Darragi (Msakni 46’), Ndjeng (Jouini 77’).

Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele, Mahamutsa, Gcaba, Matlaba, Manyisa, Jali, Segolela, Klate, Myeni, Bacela (Mbesuma 86’).