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
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
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