Orlando Pirates looked to advance to the next round of the Caf Champions League, as they went into Saturday night’s match holding a 1-0 advantage over their opponents Zanaco FC.
Both teams knocked the ball around in the opening stages of the match, but the Zambian team made their intentions very clear and pushed forward with Davies Mwape having a go at his former employers.
The Buccaneers tried to advance and Andile Jali had his team’s first shot on target in the 9th minute, although it was not powerful to trouble Zanaco’s keeper Racha Kola.
The Zanaco players tried to be more physical on the their opponents, but it was Pirates who broke the deadlock in the 18th minute through Kethokwakhe Masuku who blasted past Kola from outside the box.
The home side started playing with confidence, and dominated the midfield with Jali and Onyekachi Okonkwo combining well, but they failed to get past Zanaco’s wall as they continued to search for their second goal of the game.
Masuku continued to torment Zanaco with his dangerous runs, and nearly grabbed his second of the game on half-hour mark, but he failed to hit the target. Pirates immediately lost Andile Jali through injury and the fan favourite was replaced by Lehlohonolo Masalesa.
Davies Mwape proved too strong for Thabo Matlaba in the 40th minute and his cross nearly troubled Senzo Meyiwa who had a quiet 45 minutes, as Pirates took their 1-0 lead into the dressing rooms.
Pirates looked determined in the second half and Manyisa nearly doubled the lead for the hosts in the second minute, but it was Zanaco who equalized through Musonda Mwape in the 48th minute.
Zanaco’s equalizer frustrated the Pirates players and they lost possession cheaply, as the visitors continued to push for the winning goal.
However, the home side regained their confidence on the hour-mark and Masalesa made Pirates play, building up from the back.
Daine Klate should have restored Pirates’ lead in the 67th minute when he found himself one on one with the keeper, but the Pirates winger missed the target. Klate was immediately substituted and his place was taken by Mpho Makola.
Pirates won a free-kick outside the box in the 76th minute, and it was Mpho Makola who stepped up and netted with a beautiful strike for Bucs’ second goal of the evening.
The home side knocked the ball around nicely in the closing stages of the game and Thabo Matlaba was given freedom to take a long range shot in the final 10 minutes, but it sailed over the bar.
Senzo Meyiwa was called to action in the 90th minute, but he did well to block Musonda Mwape’s free-kick, as Pirates held onto their 2-1 lead and are through to the next round of the Caf Champions League with a 3-1 aggregate win over Zanaco FC.