Absa Premiership

Pirates claim vital away win

2015-07-27 06:40
Thabo Rakhale (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - A moment of brilliance from Thabo Rakhale handed Orlando Pirates a hard earned 1-0 win over SC Sfaxien in their CAF Confederations Cup match played at Stade Taieb Mhiri in Tunisia on Sunday night.

The Tunisians started the stronger of the two teams giving Pirates an early scare, but found the South Africans were hard to break at the back.

Brighton Mhlongo also made important saves for Pirates to keep his team in the game in the opening 15 minutes of the game.

Eric Tinkler’s side did not sit back and also produced chances of their own as Thabo Rakhale found himself with a chance to put his side ahead, after combining with Lehlohonolo Majoro, only for Sfaxien goalkeeper, Rami Jeridi, to get a touch on the ball preventing the South Africans from taking the lead.

Thabo Matlaba was the next to be presented with a good chance to stun the Tunisians, but he blasted the ball over the goal after beating a host of defenders.

Majoro also had a chance, but was also let down by poor finishing.

The best opportunity of the half fell for Sifiso Myeni, but the Pirates attacker seemed to be brought down in the box after he was provided with a good cross by Majoro in the 37th minute.

However, the Madagascan referee turned a blind eye on Pirates players calling for a penalty.

The moment of the match came just two minutes into the second half as a moment of brilliance by Rakhale gave Pirates the lead in the 47th minute, as he lobbed the keeper for the goal.

Sfaxien came back strongly after conceding the goal in search of the equalizer; however they were kept at bay by the well organised Pirates’ defence.

The Soweto giants however were dealt a blow as Matlaba was forced off with an injury .while Kermit Erasmus was brought on for Majoro.

Mhlongo made another two back-to-back saves in the 79th minute first with his feet to stop a Maher Hanachi’s shot and another one a few seconds later with Sfaxien piling pressure on Pirates.

Jeridi in goal for Sfaxien made another great save denying Erasmus.

Rakhale came close to clinching a brace to make it 2-0 for, but the goalkeeper was at hand to make another important save, but the ball fell in the way of Erasmus who hit the crossbar for the last chance of the match.

In the end, Pirates walked away with the three points to boost their chances of advancing past the group stages of the continental competition.


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