Orlando Pirates continue to progress in the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup despite suffering recent defeats in the Nedbank Cup and Premiership on the domestic front.
On Sunday, Pirates defeated eSwatini’s Royal Leopards 3-0 at the Orlando Stadium and have moved to the top of Group B standings. After four matches, Pirates have nine points, two points clear of JS Saoura (Algeria) and Al-Ittihad Club (Libya), who are on seven points each but are separated by goal difference in second and third place respectively.
The fourth Group B team, Leopards, have yet to win a game in their debut CAF season. Although Pirates top the log, JS Saoura and Al-Ittihad can still pip them to the qualifying post if they lose their two remaining matches. Each of these two teams has a match against Pirates in the remaining two rounds.
Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi was unhappy that his side did not score goals, given their overall superiority in the match.
"This is the very same sickness that has put us in a very bad position in the (domestic) league," said Ncikazi. "You dominate matches, but you just miss the main part of scoring.
“I am happy that we scored three goals, but I was offended because we should have scored more.
“At least we’re still on course for the main objective, and that is to qualify for the quarterfinals.
“First half was a bit of frustration because of the few chances that we created. It is difficult to play against a low block. So, when the few chances that you create are present, you must score.
“I’ was happy overall with the performance application, though as I said, we could have scored more goals.
"I'm happy for the supporters and management that we could give them a win.
"Our objective is to finish second (in the Premiership) so that we can compete in the Champions League (next season).
"It's good that we are still in the competition. We have to compete for all the cups that are in front of us."
Pirates host SuperSport Utd at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday, and then four days later will play JS Saoura in Algeria.