Cape Town - Orlando Pirates beat AC Leopards 1-0 at the Stade Denis Sassou Nguiesso Stadium in Dolisie in Congo-Brazzaville on Saturday, to start off their CAF Confederation Cup campaign on a winning note.
The opening minutes was an evenly contested affair, with the home team perhaps having the slight advantage, as Pirates tried to adapt to the bumpy pitch conditions.
Leopards were awarded a dangerous free kick in the 13th minute, after a high boot from Thabo Matlaba, but Brighton Mhlongo made a great save to deny the home team an early lead.
Lennox Bacela had a half chance for Pirates in the 18th minute, but after doing well to win the ball and turn at goal, his shot lacked power and was easily dealt with.
Leopards went close in the 38th minute but Ndey’s header from a good cross went just wide of goal.
Just before half-time Mhlongo was back in the action, making a top one-handed save to tip a shot over the goal, and the teams went into the break at 0-0.
Pirates started the second half at a much higher tempo, and in the 49th minute Matlaba tried an effort from outside the area but it drifted wide to the right.
Pirates grabbed the lead in the 58th minute when Happy Jele pounced on a poor clearance and scored from close range.
Ndey had another chance for Leopards in the 65th minute, but Mhlongo dealt with his shot from a tight angle easily.
In the 73rd minute it was Ndey again who had an opportunity, but his effort went wide of Mhlongo’s goal.
It may not have been the prettiest performance, but Pirates were able to hold on for a very important away win, despite a few late scares, and grab three points to start off their Group B campaign.