Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates claimed a crucial 1-0 win in the first leg of their last 32 CAF Champions League clash against Zanaco in Lusaka.
An early strike from Ndumiso Mabena gave the Buccaneers the advantage and an away goal which makes them favourites to advance to the second round where they will likely face DR Congo giants TP Mazembe.
Pirates coach Roger de Sa picked a full-strength side. The match was played on a difficult surface, with the pitch cut up and not conducive to flowing football.
“It was always going to be difficult, it is not easy to play in conditions like this,” De Sa said after the match.
“I thought we adapted pretty well and knocked the ball around when we could. It took its toll on the legs, there is no doubt, we are used to playing on a carpet surface, but we managed to get through.”
Pirates took the lead on six minutes when Mabena headed home a Daine Klate corner for just his second goal of the season.
“I thought we defended very well and took our chance to score. It was a very professional performance,” De Sa said.
The Bucs coach added, “We take home a 1-0 lead which is important, it is not a massive lead but at least it means they have to come at us a bit and that will open things up a bit.”