Orlando Pirates - Al Ahly Preview: Buccaneers aim to overthrow continental kings Al Ahly
Orlando Pirates will look to put Al Ahly to the sword in the first leg of the Caf Champions League final, before facing a testing away trip to Cairo in the return leg
By Daniel Eslick
Jele, Mahamutsa, Gcaba, Matlaba
Klate, Manyisa, Jali, Myeni, Segolela
Fathy, Gomaa, Moawad, Samir
Ashour, El Said, Soliman, Abo trika
Orlando Stadium will host the first leg of the Caf Champions League final on Saturday night, with Orlando Pirates hoping to take advantage of their home conditions before facing a tricky trip to Al Ahly's Air Defence stadium in Cairo.
Pirates overcame the odds in defeating Esperance de Tunis in order to garner a spot in the final, winning 1-1 on aggregate due to an away goal from Rooi Mahamutsa in Tunisia.
The Buccaneers did so without recognised first-choice central defenders Siyabonga Sangweni and Lucky Lekgwathi, Sangweni still unavailable due to injury, while Lekgwathi' absence seems to have resulted from controversial comments made by the Pirates captain.
Patrick Phungwayo will also miss the final as he recovers from an Achilles tendon injury, with Ayanda Gcaba and Rooi Mahamutsa likely to renew their partnership in the centre of defence.
Pirates will hope for improved fortunes in front of goal in the Orlando Stadium, as the side has been held to three 0-0 draws at home during the tournament.
Al Ahly had to contend with a motivated Coton Sport in order to reach yet another final, narrowly defeating the club from Cameroon 7-6 in a penalty shootout.
The Egyptian Giants will be relieved to name Sherif Ekramy in their squad, after the player sustained a thigh injury which could have resulted in him missing the first leg of the all-important final.
The star-studded outfit contains 11 Egyptian national players, who will be motivated to exorcise the demons of a 6-1 thrashing by Ghana in a recent World Cup qualifier.
The final promises to be an enthralling encounter between the kings of the Caf Champions League and a side which is desperate to earn their second star.
Catch all the action LIVE on Goal South Africa, with commentary set to kick-off at 8pm on Saturday night from the Orlando Stadium.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- The winner of the two-legged final will compete in the Club World Cup, which is set to begin in December.
- Al Ahly will look to win an unprecedented 8th title, while Pirates aim to earn their second star after last winning the competition in 1995.
- The two sides met in the group stages of the competition, Pirates claiming an emphatic and surprising 3-0 win in El Gouna, while the return meeting ended in a 0-0 draw in Orlando.
- Al Ahly have not been participating in competitive league football throughout the Caf Champions League, due to political unrest in Egypt.
- Meanwhile, Pirates have only played three league games in South Africa due to their Champions League commitments but did reach the final of the MTN 8 cup competition.
- The Egyptian club's appeals to Caf have proven worthwhile, as the final is set to be staged in Cairo despite the security risks involved.
Top 3 Predictions
Orlando Pirates 0-1 Al Ahly
- 12.5 %
Orlando Pirates 2-0 Al Ahly
- 11.61 %
Orlando Pirates 2-1 Al Ahly
- 10.71 %
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|28||Rooi Petros Mahamutsa||Defender|
|23||Tlou Mashedi Segolela||Midfielder|
|-||Lennox Luyanda Bacela||Striker|
|14||Lucky Letlhohonolo Lekgwathi||Defender|
|27||Terence Mpho Makola||Midfielder|
|4||Sherif Abd Elfadil||Defender|
|22||Mohammed Abu Trika||Midfielder|
|-||Abdulla Ali Saeed||Defender|
|-||Ahmed Abdul Zaher||Striker|
|13||Ahmed Adel Abdul Monem||Goalkeeper|
|-||Dominique Da Silva||Striker|