Pirates Edge Djabal in Champions League Opener

Orlando Pirates grabbed a slim advantage in their CAF Champions League First Preliminary Round tie against Djabal Club of Comoros, winning 1-0 in the away leg fixture played at Stade Moroni Malouzini on Saturday afternoon.

Reacquainted with the same outfit they faced to kick off their 2012/13 campaign – where they fell on the final hurdle – the Buccaneers had to deal with a demanding away trip to the capital of the island nation ahead of the decisive home leg.

The contest in Moroni kicked off with a highly frustrating first 45 minutes for the Buccaneers, who could not find the decisive touch despite dominating proceedings.

Relebohile Mofokeng did manage to call the keeper into action early on, drawing a save from the keeper who parried the ball out of play.

Pirates had further first-half chances through Monnapule Saleng and Bienvenu Eva Nga, both bringing out the best out of the Djabal shot stopper.

The home side did have a chance of their own late in the opening period, with the Bucs defence breathing a sigh of relief after watching the ball sail over the bar following a looping header from inside the box.

Just as he did at the start of the first half, Mofokeng was in the thick of the action after the second-half restart, firing a shot which drifted just wide of the target.

The Soweto Giants maintained control of the game, with striker Zakhele Lepasa finding an opportunity shortly after being brought in on the hour mark, but his effort was deflected out.

The Pirates goal came under threat 66 minutes in as the hosts surged forward, but skipper Innocent Maela was on hand to cut out the danger.

Most of the action was however concentrated at the other end, where the visitors remained in the ascendancy, as Saleng was denied by the keeper from close range in the 79th minute.

Bucs’ efforts eventually paid off three minutes from the final whistle where a swift move from the opposition half delivered the ball into the hosts’ penalty area, where Lepasa was in the perfect place to pounce and make it 1-0.

Kabelo Dlamini had an opportunity to double the lead inside injury time, but there was not enough time for either side to alter the scoreline as Pirates clung on to take a slim lead into Friday’s clash at Orlando Stadium.

Pirates XI: Ofori, Mthethwa, Maela, Monyane, Mako, Makaringe (Ndlondlo 82’), Monare, Saleng, Hotto (Otladisa 61’), Mofokeng (Dlamini 82’), Eva Nga (Lepasa 61’). 

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