Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates head coach Roger de Sa was delighted the team was able to get a place in the African Champions League semi-finals.
Pirates were held to a goalless draw by Egyptian giants Al Ahly at Orlando Stadium. With Zamalek crushing AC Leopards 4-1 in a simultaneous fixture, the Buccaneers settled for second place in Group A.
“We heard the result up in Egypt (in the latter stages of the game) so we knew a draw would be enough,” De Sa said.
“We had some great chances that would have gone in the back of the net on another day, but that's how it goes. We've done the country proud and qualified for a change. Hopefully we'll keep the flag flying.”
They will now face Tunisian team Esperance in next month's two-leg semi-finals, as they attempt to become the first South African side to reach the continental final since Mamelodi Sundowns in 2001.
Al Ahly coach Mohamed Youssef lauded their hosts, who had secured a stunning 3-0 win in the first leg in Cairo, for their aggressive effort up front and their solid performance at the back.
The Egyptian outfit, who won the title last season, finished top of Group A, and will square up against Cameroonian club Coton Sport in the penultimate round.
“We wanted to be on top of the group because it gives us a better opportunity in the semi-finals, and we did that,” Youssef said.
“But I congratulate all the players and the coach of Orlando Pirates. They played a good game and attacked too much. We caught them on many counter attacks but we could not score.” – Sapa