Can Orlando Pirates pull off something special against Raja Casablanca in second-leg?
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DURBAN - Orlando Pirates will have to pull something special out of the bag as they face a challenging trip to Morocco to play Raja Casablanca in their Confederation Cup quarterfinal second-leg clash on Sunday.
It was certainly Raja who would have left the first leg (1-1) as the happier team. Not only did they avoid defeat in South Africa, but they also got an away goal via Ben Malango, who was a threat to the Pirates defence throughout the game.
Pirates were the better side throughout the first half and deservedly took the lead in the first half through Vincent Pule,.
But in the end they failed to regularly create good opportunities which cost them dearly in the end.
Not only will Raja now be the favourites to advance to the semifinals, but they will also be one of the favourites to win Africa’s secondtier club competition.
The Green Eagles eased through the group stages, winning all of their games without conceding a goal.
As is usually the case in cup competitions, the game at the weekend was far from a pretty affair and very physical, although in the end the away team will be feeling that they did what they needed to do.
Although Pirates will be the underdogs going into the second leg, they can at least take heart from the fact that they became the first club to score against Raja in the Confederation Cup this season.
Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer conceded after the first leg that his team played relatively well, but failed to connect enough to win the game.
This has been a regular outcome of the Sea Robbers’ play this season and has led to some fans believing that the German is not the right man to rebuild the team.
“Overall, we had a good game, but the result was disappointing,” said Zinnbauer.
“We created more chances in the first half, while in the second half we gave them more chances. The team worked very well and could have scored from the one or two good chances we had, which could have given us the result that we wanted
“I felt that the goal that Casablanca scored should have been ruled out for a foul, as Malango used his arms on our player in the build-up.
“We do know, though, that Malango has top skills and most of the time he scores when he gets chances.
“Our defending was good because we did not give Casablanca a lot of chances.”
Pirates will have no choice but to attack their opposition in the second leg. They will require either an away win or a high-scoring draw to advance to the last four.