Pirates ease into Caf Confed Cup group stages

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  • Post published:February 21, 2021

Orlando Pirates advanced to the group stages of the Caf Confederation Cup following their 4-0 aggregate win over Jwaneng Galaxy in the group stage play-off.

Josef Zinnbauer made a number of changes to his squad that beat Galaxy 3-0 in the first leg as Thulani Hlatshwayo and Linda Mntambo the only two-player to keep their place in the squad.

The match got off to a slow start with both sides trying to find their rhythm in the opening exchanges of the match.

The Buccaneers had the first real chance of the game after 26 minutes of play when Kabelo Dlamini curling his effort towards goal forcing Ezekiel Morake into making a diving save to deny the Pirates forward.

Galaxy nearly broke the deadlock six minutes later but they could only rattle the upright from the set-piece, sending the Buccaneers defence into a scramble.

Linda Mntambo came close to handing his side the lead in the 32nd minute after finding himself in a position to shoot, but the Pirates attacker blazed his effort over the target.

The Soweto giants came even closer to taking the lead on the stroke of half time, but Jean-Marc Makusu was denied by Morake from close range after an excellent link-up play with Austin Muwowo as the game went into the break locked at 0-0.

Pirates showed their intent early in the second half as Azola Tshobeni freed himself to deliver a cross into the area, but his cross proved too powerful for Mundele, who was lurking in the box.

Hlatshwayo nearly handed Pirates the lead in the 52nd minute but the defender directed his header inches wide of goal after latching on to Dlamini’s well-taken free-kick.

Pirates eventually took the lead three minutes later as Mntambo found the back of the net after he received a ball just inside the box before calmly slotting the ball into the far corner.

The Soweto giants almost doubled their lead in the 59th minute when Mundele set up Monare, who fired his effort over the crossbar from the edge of the area.

Morake was called into action in the 62nd minute when he made a brilliant save to keep out Muwowo’s effort, with the Galaxy defence clearing the rebound away from danger.

Zinnbauer opted to bring on fresh legs four minutes later as Monare and Hlatshwayo made way for Nkanyiso Zungu and Thabiso Sesane, respectively.

The Buccaneers had a chance to double their lead in the 74th minute when Tshobeni won a free kick in the middle of the park, Zungu steppe up to take the set piece but rolled his tame effort straight into the hands of Morake before introducing Collins Makgaka in place of Muwowo three minutes later.

Pirates didn’t sit back as they looked to extend their lead even further after 82 minutes as Bongani Sam made a great run at the near side before delivering an effort into the box, but was unable to pick out a Pirates man with his cross.

Zinnbauer made his final substitution with six minutes left to play as Ndlovu and Makaringe came on to replace Dlamini and Mundele, respectively as they held on to their lead until the final whistle to secure the win.