Absa Premiership

Pirates down Egyptian giants

2015-10-05 07:30
Kermit Erasmus (Supplied)

Cape Town - Orlando Pirates advanced to the final of the CAF Confederation Cup on Sunday when they edged out Egypt's Al Ahly 4-3 in the semi-final second leg.

Pirates went into their went into the encounter needing only a draw to advance to the final but they were forced into action after the hosts took the lead.

The Buccaneers were second best for the entire first half; defending deeply as Ah Ahly went in search of the two goals which would ensure their passage to the final.

The Egyptians were rewarded for their persistence in the 43rd minute when Abdullah El-Said found Malick Evouna with a ball over the defence and the striker beat on-rushing Pirates goalkeeper Felipe Ovono.

Evouna bagged the second just eight minutes into the second half when he headed home a cross after a sharp counter attack from Al Ahly.

Eric Tinkler was forced to intervene in attempt to save his side from elimination, and brought on Kermit Erasmus and Thabo Rakhale in place of Lehlohonolo Majoro and Sifiso Myeni.

The move would prove an inspired one in the 57th minute when an attempted cross from Rakhale was cleared into Erasmus’ path and he curled an effort into the back of the net.

Pirates leveled matters in the 73rd minute when striker Thamsanqa Gabuza surged into the box and his resulting shot deflected into the net.

With their confidence boosted by the goals, Pirates completed the comeback when Thabo Matlaba mugged an opposition player on the edge of the box and rifled a low shot into the goal to hand his side a 3-2 lead.

The hosts refused to accept defeat despite the result seeming settled and leveled the scores in the 91st minute when Ovono parried a goal-bound header into the path of substitute Amr Gamal, who banged the shot in from close range.

Pirates would still have advanced if the score remained at 3-3, but chose to have one last throw of the dice instead of sitting back.

The gamble paid off when Thabo Rakhale collected a pass from Mpho Makola and beat opposition goalkeeper Sherif Ekrami in the 95th minute.

The 4-3 victory saw Pirates advance with a 5-3 aggregate score, after their 1-0 victory in the first leg on September 26 at Orlando Stadium.

Tinkler’s side will face Tunisia side Etoile du Sahel in a two-legged final tie in November with the date to be confirmed.

Etoile defeated Zamalek, also from Egypt, 5-4 over two legs.

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