Cape Town - Orlando Pirates got their CAF Confederation Cup campaign off to a winning start as they defeated Uganda Revenue Authority 2-1 in a first round, first leg match at Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Buccaneers did not put in the most convincing performance. They will nonetheless be happy to hold a lead heading into the second leg, though conceding a late away goal was a definite disappointment for Eric Tinkler’s team.
Pirates opened the scoring through a most unlikely source, as defender Rooi Mahamutsa cracked home a magnificent long-range shot in the fourth minute. The centre-back’s effort flew into the top corner and gave URA’s goalkeeper no chance whatsoever.
But if the Buccaneers thought that brilliant goal would set the tone for the remainder of the game, they were sadly mistaken. The Ugandan visitors proved to be a real handful for the hosts, playing some slick attacking football that had Pirates’ defence scrambling throughout.
Though URA managed just one shot on target in the first half – a 25th minute effort from Feni Ali Mohamoud that was easily saved by Brighton Mhlongo – they were arguably the better team and would have felt they deserved more for their efforts than heading into the change rooms at halftime 1-0 down.
URA continued to boss the game in the early stages of the second half, though a tactical switch from Pirates which saw Thandani Ntshumayelo introduced to midfield (he replaced striker Lennox Bacela) saw the South African side enjoy a better balance to their play.
As the half wore on and URA began to take a few more risks in terms of committing players forward, more space opened up for Pirates to attack on the counter. The Soweto giants duly took advantage in the 85th minute when Oupa Manyisa teed up Lehlohonolo Majoro, who finished beautifully from outside the box to double his side’s advantage.
Yet there was to be a twist in the tale late on, as Pirates defender Happy Jele scored an unfortunate own goal in injury time. The right-back was forced to head a cross into his own net under immense pressure from a URA attacker.