Pirates stumble in El Gouna
Johannesburg - Roger De Sa's quest for 10 points will have to wait a bit longer as his Orlando Pirates side went down 2-1 to Zamalek in their CAF Champions league group A match in El Gouna in Egypt on Sunday.
Pirates created enough chances to get something out of the game, but problems in defence plunged the Buccaneers into disarray at key moments in the clash.
While the loss will come as a blow to Pirates who have shown red-hot form in the competition, they still maintain their first position in Group A with seven points from four matches.
Al Ahly have joined Pirates on the same number of points, but the South African team boast a positive five goal difference, six better than their Egyptian counterparts.
The Buccanneers started badly and gave away a penalty early in the game. Lucky Lekgwathi brought down a Zamalek player in the box, and Ahmed Eid converted from the spot to give his side a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute.
In the 33rd minute, Lennox Bacela made a surging run down the left and from the edge of the area unleashed a powerful shot which left Zamalek keeper Abdel Sayed routed to the spot as Pirates made it 1-1.
As was the fierce nature of the encounter, Tlou Segolela received a yellow card just after the half hour mark for a late tackle on Abdel-Shafy.
The next caution for Pirates came in the 49th minute as Thabo Matlaba was cautioned for a reckless tackle on Omar Gabe.
After the break, Zamalek regained their lead.
Salah Soliman scored as he was allowed space inside the Pirates box as the ball was whipped in from a corner, and his header was deposited into the open goal to make it 2-1 in the 51st minute.
On the hour mark Pirates were close to going further behind.
Ahmed Gaffar eased his way into the area, leaving a number of Bucs players in his wake, but the shot was just wide as the Soweto side were let off the hook.
The third yellow card for Pirates came in the 65th minute as Andile Jali was cautioned by the referee.
Sifiso Myeni tried in vain to inject some life into the Pirates attack.
The former Wits player delivered a strong cross into the area in the 69th minute, but the Zamalek defence ensured the ball was cleared before it found a Pirates player.
Ultimately, Pirates could not find a second and will be looking over the shoulder in the remaining games.
Collated CAF Champions League matchday 4 results this weekend:
Zamalek (EGY) 2 (Eid 6-pen, Soliman 51) Orlando Pirates (RSA) 1 (Bacela 33)
Al-Ahly (EGY, holders) 2 (Al-Saied 37, Soliman 68) AC Leopards (CGO) 1 (Beaullia 84)
Recreativo Libolo (ANG) 1 (Aguinaldo 24) Coton Sport (CMR) 1 (Yedan 31)
Esperance (TUN) 1 (Yahia 57) Sewe San Pedro (CIV) 0
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