Orlando Pirates moved to the top of the Group A standings in the Caf Confederation Cup following their 2-1 victory over Enyimba at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.
Josef Zinnbauer, who was on the sidelines for his 50th official game with Pirates, recalled Siyabonga Mpontshane and Ntsikelelo Nyauza, while Richard Ofori and Happy Jele missed out through injury.
The Buccaneers got off to a good start and had an early opportunity to take the lead after two minutes after a ball was floated into the box, but it was just out of the reach of Deon Hotto.
Ntsikelelo Nyauza then found himself in unfamiliar territory as the furthest Pirates player forward in the 14th minute. He met a long ball and volleyed it towards goal, but could not connect well enough to cause any problems for the Enyimba keeper.
Pirates eventually took the lead in the 27th minute when Hotto found the back of the net in superb fashion when he back-heeled the ball home after he was set up by Mntambo.
Siyabonga Mpontshane was called into action within the space of two minutes – first to divert Enyimba skipper Augustine Odalapo’s free kick wide before making another save to his left to keep out what looked like a goal-bound shot.
Enyimba were then awarded a penalty on the stroke of half time after Mpontshane was adjudged to have fouled Anayo in the box. Oladapo stepped up and made no mistake as he sent Mpontshane the wrong way with the half-time tally level at 1-1.
Pirates picked up where they left off in the first half as they came close to restoring their lead on two occasions in the second stanza, but Mntambo and Hotto were unable to guide their efforts on target.
Zinnbauer then opted to bring on fresh legs in the 58th minute as Kabelo Dlamini and Tshegofatso Mabasa came on to replace Ben Motshwari and Mntambo.
Innocent Maela came close to making it 2-1 in favour of Pirates five minutes later, but headed his effort just wide of the target before reinforcements were brought on – Terrence Dzvukamanja and Gabadinho Mhango replacing Vincent Pule and Fortune Makaringe, respectively.
Pirates were awarded a penalty of their own in the 76th minute when Mhango was fouled in the box. Mabasa stepped up to take the penalty but he slipped on the slippery surface, lobbing the ball over the bar.
Mabasa then made amends for his earlier miss in spectacular fashion as he came out of nowhere to head the ball into the back of the net at the near post from a resulting corner.
The Buccaneers pressed forward in search of another goal in the closing stages but held on to their 2-1 lead until the final whistle to walk away with all three points at home.
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