Johannesburg - Thabo Matlaba has scored an equaliser in the last minute of additional
time to salvage a 1-1 draw against Al-Ahly in the first leg of the CAF
Champions League final at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
As it happened: Bucs v Al Ahly
devastating first-half free-kick from Egyptian Mohamed Aboutrika put the
visitors ahead early, but Pirates were made to dig deep and Matlaba
stole a draw in the 93rd minute, after four minutes of extra time were
Aboutrika showed his class as Ahly made the most of a
costly error from the Pirates back four, punishing the home side with an
unstoppable set-piece early in the opening stanza.
final played over two legs, home and away, Ahly would head home with a
slight advantage, having scored an away goal.
The Buccaneers though,
would fancy their chances, thanks to Matlaba's late heroics.
hosts were quickest out the gates and Lennox Bacela, Oupa Manyisa and
Daine Klate got close inside five minutes, but none really threatened as
Ahly struggled to find their feet.
An elementary mistake at the
back led to the opener against the run of play, as Ahly capitalised on
an unforced error from the Pirates defence.
Ayanda Gcaba failed to clear a simple ball, opting to play onto his foot rather than clearing with his head.
regained possession on the edge of the area from Gcaba's heavy touch,
forcing him into making a clumsy tackle which brought down his opponent
in a dangerous position.
Aboutrika unleashed a ferocious effort
from the dead ball situation, beating goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa with a
shot few goalkeepers would have kept out as the ball sailed into the top
right corner of the goal.
The Sea Robbers responded well, but
failed to trouble Ahly shot-stopper Sherif Ekramy and could only manage
several long-distance attempts which went harmlessly high and wide of
Ahmed El-Zaher thought he had doubled Ahly's lead
shortly after the interval, but the Egyptian attacker's goal was ruled
offside, though television replays suggested otherwise.
disallowed goal sparked the home side into action as Tlou Segolela's
driven effort forced a good stop from Ekramy, who did well to keep Ahly
in the lead.
Andile Jali came even closer in the 58th minute,
after he was allowed space before getting his shot away, but Ekramy
pulled off a fantastic diving save to deny Jali the equaliser.
Pirates were not done yet and, as the clock ticked away in added time,
Matlaba picked up on a pass, danced his way into the area and slotted
home with his left foot, as the capacity crowd at the Orlando Stadium
Pirates travel to the Egyptian capital next week and would be
looking to overturn Saturday's result, when the two sides meet in the
deciding second leg next Sunday.
Orlando Pirates: Senzo Meyiwa, Happy Jele, Thabo Matlaba, Rooi Mahamutsa, Ayanda Gcaba, Andile Jali, Oupa Manyisa, Sifiso Myeni, Tlou Segolela, Daine Klate, Lennox Bacela
Al Ahly: Sherif Ekramy, Sherif Abdel-Fadil, Wael Gomaa, Mohamed Naguib, Sayed Moawad, Ahmed Fathi, Hosssam Ashour, Abdallah El-Said, Walid Soliman, Mohamed Abou-Treika, Ahmed Abdel-Zaher