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Pirates send Algeria's JS Saoura packing with 2-0 defeat In Confed Cup opener

Bandile Shandu of Orlando Pirates celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal during their CAF Confederation Cup match against JS Saoura at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Sunday

Bandile Shandu of Orlando Pirates celebrates with teammates after scoring their second goal during their CAF Confederation Cup match against JS Saoura at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Sunday. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Published Feb 13, 2022

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Cape Town — It wasn't an auspicious start by any stretch of the imagination, but Orlando Pirates opened their CAF Confederation Cup campaign with a well-taken 2-0 win over Algeria's JS Saoura at the Orlando Stadium on Sunday evening, after leading 1-0 at halftime.

The Algerian visitors Saoura, Confederation Cup debutants, announced their arrival with a first-minute sortie into the opposition penalty area, and Pirates goalmouth custodian Siyabonga Mpontshane was forced to keep an early save.

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The threat emerged when Saoura's attacking midfielder Mohamed El Amine Hammia broke clear down the left flank. Striker Abdeldjalil Saad who was left unmarked, connected with Hammia's cross plumb in front of Pirates' posts but Mpontshane clutched the ball on his chest, inside the opening 30 seconds of play.

Two minutes later, the action transferred to the opposite end of the pitch, and this time Pirates enjoyed better fortunes in front of the opposition's goal after a set-piece play allowed them to draw first blood.

Pirates' Ghanaian striker Kwame Peprah was fouled some 20 meters inside the Saoura half. Thembinkosi Lorch, who is fast regaining his best form after a long injury-enforced lay-off reeled in a free-kick high over the Saoura defensive wall. Midfielder Goodman Mosele stalked in behind the wall to land a strike in mid-air. His angled shot was parried by Saoura's keeper Zakaria Saidi. Pirates skipper was well up with play and tip-toed in to steer the stray ball into the opposition goal (1-0).

After this setback, the Algerian visitors took the game to Pirates, who had to deal with a wave of attacks. Pirates did well to slow the game down and this helped them to regain the initiative, just past the half-hour mark.

Saoura gained the upper hand towards the end of the first when the Pirates goalmouth was under siege. Saoura were trigger-shy at times when they opted to feed players who were not necessarily in a better positions to score.

To add to the intrigue in the dying minutes of the first half, there were several poor defensive clearances from Pirates. This presented several half-chances for the visitors, but Pirates managed to keep their slender lead intact.

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The Algerians came out in the second half more fired up than ever. Pirates were content to absorb the pressure, although they suffered a few knocks as Saoura waded in with several instances of rough play. Still, they let off fairly lightly with only two yellow cards inside the opening 55 minutes.

In the 66th minute, Pirates sparked a penetrative counter-attack from inside their half. After two touches, Pirates' Namibian winger Deon Hotto was set free out wide. Once he rounded the chasing defenders his slide-rule cross was steered into goals by Bandile Shandu, who had made a fine run down midfield, from a deep position, to keep up with play.

This insurance goal proved a tad too much for the visitors, and they dropped their heads as play wound to its completion.

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@Herman_Gibbs

IOL Sport

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