Aboutrika's first half free-kick strike was cancelled out by a late goal from Thabo Matlaba as the first leg of the Caf Champions League final ended all square
A late goal from Orlando Pirates' full back Thabo Matlaba helped the home side seal a 1-1 draw with Al Ahly in the first leg of the Caf Champions League final.
Mohammed Aboutrika scored a vital away goal for the Egyptian giants with a superb free-kick, but the away side could not hold on for a victory, as Thabo Matlaba's low drive beat Ekramy to stave off defeat for Pirates.
Pirates started well, showing their intent to score in the early minutes of the game, but then gave away a silly free-kick in a dangerous area, and Mohammed Aboutrika stepped up to beat Senzo Meyiwa with a superb strike to make it 1-0 to the Egyptians just after 14 minutes.
Pirates reacted immediately and surged forward in an attempt to get the equalizer, and Moawad almost turned the ball into his own net, as Bucs looked dangerous in the final third.
The Egyptian side kept the Sea Robbers at bay for the better part of the first half, making it difficult for Pirates' attacking players to penetrate through, and forced the likes of Oupa Manyisa and Andile Jali to knock the ball around in front of them.
Al Ahly sat back and looked to catch Pirates on the counter attack with Soliman Saed Ebid coming close to making the score 2-0 in the dying embers of the first half, but Meyiwa did well to deny the attacking midfielder.
Manyisa and Bacela nearly levelled matters just before the end of the first half, but their attempts lack accuracy, as Al Ahly held on to their lead going into the second half.
The 2012 Caf Champions League champions attacked their opponents immediately after the restart, and Abdelzaher Darwish was incorrectly adjudged to be offside after beating Meyiwa with a low shot five minutes into the second half.
Pirates added numbers forward with Thabo Matlaba exploiting spaces in the midfield than sitting at the back, as the home side continue to push for that important equalizer.
Tlou Segolela sliced past two defenders after 55 minutes, but his left-footed attempt went straight into Ekramy's hands.
Andile Jali tried his luck from outside the box in the 57th minute, but Ekramy did well to deflect his shot for a corner, as pressure was starting to build up for the Egyptian side.
A minute later, Lennox Bacela got in behind the Al Ahly defence for the first time, but veteran defender and captain Wael Gomaa did brilliantly to block his shot.
Al Ahly looked dangerous on the break as Pirates pushed more men forward. The game had another goal in it, but not so many clear-cut chances were created by both sides.
Happy Jele fouled Dominique Da Sylva on the edge of the box with 10 minutes to go, but the Pirates wall did well to deflect Aboutrika's free-kick for a corner.
Pirates' attempts to score finally led to the all-important equalizer, as Thabo Matlaba's umpteenth shot from range sneaked into the net past Ekramy, to give Pirates hope going into the second leg of the final.