Orlando Pirates have secured a semi-final spot after beating AC Leopards 2-0 on Saturday evening at the Orlando Stadium in the CAF Confederation cup. Pirates went top of Group B with 12 points after five games where in this game they needed a win or a draw to qualify for the final four. The Bucs went into the game without regular keeper Brighton Mhlongo, with Equitorial Guinea’s Felipe Ovono the only goalkeeper available for selection. Meanwhile, Bucs defender Patrick Phungwayo missed their previous PSL fixture against Chippa United due to injury but was fit for the CAF encouter.
Eric Tinkler’s side had defeated CS Sfaxien 2-0 in their previous encounter at Orlando Stadium while AC Leopards beat Zamalek 1-0 in their previous game. In the opening stage of the first half, the game was evenly balanced. However,the first chance fell to Leopards in the 8th minute when Césaire Gandze of Leopards fired his shot over the crossbar after he found himself unmarked inside Pirates’ territory.
Sifiso Myeni of Pirates unleashed a powerful shot in the 15th minute, which was deflected for a corner-kick. Two minutes later, Gandze once again found himself on a one-on-one with Ovono but was denied with a great save by the bucs keeper. In the 33rd minute Mpho Makola drew first blood with a low driven shot from 18-yards out to beat Lawrence Ngoe after an assist from Kermit Erasmus. The game went to half-time 1-0 as Pirates kept on to their lead and Leopards failed to find the back of the net.
In the second half, both Jele and Gabuza of Pirates were unfortunate to miss their early chances to score. Meanwhile, in the 66th minute, Ngouelou of Leopards nearly scored when he fired over the crossbar from 6-yards out. Erasmus was then substituted Letlhogonolo Majoro, who assisted Oupa Manyisa, who made it 2-0 to Pirates in the 87th minute to seal the win.
The match ended 2-0 to Pirates, who now lead Group B with a 3-point lead ahead of Zamalek, who have a game in hand to be played on Sunday against CS Sfaxien.