Bucs mummify Egyptians

2013-08-18 14:00

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The goals Pirateshave scored will stand the team in good stead

Orlando Pirates made the most of their chances in the CAF Champions League when they opened the gap in Group A by three points with this victory last night.

This especially after Al Ahly got back into contention following their first victory in an early kick-off to level the points with Pirates and second-placed Athlétic Club Léopards of the Republic of Congo, prior to the Soweto fixture.

The 1995 African champions almost made things difficult for themselves by allowing the visitors back into the game in the opening half.

And things couldn’t have been worse when the Buccaneers suffered an early setback in the match, losing midfielder Andile Jali to what looked like a groin injury.

His replacement Lehlogonolo Masalesa first struggled to keep up with the pacy and physical Zamalek midfielders, but the impact of teamwork by the hosts in the second half gave them an upper hand over the gutsy White Knights.

With this defeat, Zamalek – with a single point – are rooted at the bottom of the table, below Léopards and Al Ahly who are second and third respectively.

While Pirates regrouped in the second half last night, there were a few individuals who stood out.

Midfielder Daine Klate played the match of his life with two assists and a goal, and his contribution was a kind of performance Pirates needed if they were to maintain their unbeaten run.

New recruit Lennox Bacela also proved in this match that he had something special to offer in the normally potent Pirates strike force, particularly at the way in which he held off the Zamalek defenders and brought his teammates into play.

The former Bloemfontein Celtic marksman also played a part in setting up the mobile Tlou Segolela for the second goal of the match.

The seven goals that Pirates have scored in three matches – conceding only one – will stand them in good stead when goal difference comes into play in the event of a tie at the end of the campaign, as it was the case when the top three were equal on points at half-time last night.

Depending on how quick Jali recovers, Bucs coach Roger de Sa will still have to dig deeper for experience, especially since his side is faced with a cluster of domestic and continental fixtures.

The Buccaneers face Kaizer Chiefs in the first leg of the MTN8 Cup on Saturday and travel to Ajax Cape Town for a league assignment three days later.

They will then have four days before their return leg against Zamalek in Cairo, Egypt, on September 1.

With yesterday’s win, Pirates made history by becoming the first club from the southern Africa region to get a double over Egyptian sides after they walloped Al Ahly 3-0 in Cairo two weeks ago.

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