Orlando Pirates lost their second consecutive game in the Caf Champions League after a 1-0 loss to AC Leopards in Congo on Saturday
Orlando Pirates started the game with their depleted squad against AC Leopards, as they hoped to open the gap at the top of the Group A log.
The home side was quick to settle on the bumpy pitch in Congo, and they won a free-kick at the edge of the Pirates box, but Nzamba’s attempt failed to trouble Senzo Meyiwa.
The surface made it difficult for both teams to play their normal football although Leopards looked a bit comfortable at times.
Pirates were awarded a free-kick in the 13th minute, but Daine Klate’s curler went straight into the hands of Leopards keeper Ngome.
Lennox Bacela should have done better in the 17th minute after beating the offside trap, but he couldn’t make contact with the ball as Ngome came a long way to make a save.
Meyiwa was forced to a brilliant save by Mouzita in the 23rd minute after the Leopards man was given enough space just outside the Pirates box.
Pirates should have been 1-0 up in the 27th minute after a defensive error from the Leopards defence, but Bacela took time to take a shot at goal and it eventually went wide of Ngome’s goal.
Both teams didn’t create any clear-cut goalscoring opportunities, and often won possession through set-pieces, but Pirates would have themselves to blame as they should have at least been 1-0 up at halftime.
AC Leopards put Pirates under immense pressure in the early stages of the second half, but the visitors held firm and defended well at the back.
Pirates lacked bodies in the final third with Bacela clearly isolated and he didn’t get enough support from both Thulasizwe Mbuyane and Daine Klate.
Gandze should have headed home after the hour mark, but the cross was too high for him to connect and Pirates recovered well and cleared their lines.
Leopards deservedly took the lead in the 72nd minute after a brilliant shot from Bissiki who fired past Senzo Meyiwa to the delight of the Congolese supporters.
Klate tried from the free-kick in the 79th minute, but his curler narrowly missed the target.
It was then too late for Pirates who could not create any chances in the last 10 minutes, as Leopards looked likely to score their second.The result brings Leopards back into the tournament, as they are now on seven points with both Pirates and Al Ahly, although the Egyptian giants can book their place in the semi-final with a win against Zamalek on Sunday.