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VIDEO: Orlando Pirates advance to CAF CL final over Esperance
South African outfit Orlando Pirates today earned a 1-1 draw in Radès to advance to the CAF Champions league final against Tunisian giants Esperance on away goals.
After the first leg ended 0-0 in Johannesburg, Orlando Pirates knew they needed to score away from home to have any chance of progressing. On the other hand, Esperance knew a home win would see them in the final.
Esperance were looking to make it 4 finals in a row in Africa’s elite club competition whereas Pirates, who have only won the competition once in 1995, were looking for a rare final appearance after a terrific campaign.
Esperance: Ben Chrifia; Derbali, Dhaouadi, Ben Mansour, Chemmam; Ragued, Aouadhi; Afful, Darragi, Belaili; Ndjeng.
Orlando Pirates: Senzo Meyiwa, Jele, Mahamutsa, Gcaba, Matlaba, Segolela, Jali, Manyisa, Klate, Myeni, Bacela.
South African side Orlando Pirates sprang an African Champions league surprise after holding 6-time finalist Esperance at home to a 1-1 draw and qualify for the CAF Champions league final on away goals.
Esperance were made favourites after a goalless first leg in Johannesburg, however, it is was their upbeat and spirited visitors who ran out winners in the end.
The first half didn’t see much entertainment, rather a catalogue of missed chances from both sides which ended the half goalless.
In the second half, Pirates come out strong and were on the front foot. Seven minutes into the second, Ben Cherifia was forced to come out to deny Bacela and concede a corner. The resulting corner was whipped in by Klate and Mahamutsa headed past Ben Cherifia, Rades was stunned.
A few minutes later, Esperance managed to reply, Algerian winger Youcef Belaili recieved the ball down the right, skipped past Matlaba and whipped in a low cross which was met by Mskani who tucked away to put the Hosts level in the tie. Esperance knew they now needed another goal to advance based on the away goal rule.
Orlando Pirates were the better side throughout the second half, they managed to threaten Ben Cherifia’s goal on a number of occasions, but poor decision making and finishing by their forwards Klate and Bacela meant they couldnt finish off the tie.
Esperance pushed for a winner in the last 10 minutes however Pirates were resolute at the back, defended brilliantly, Belaili and N’Djeng were finding it difficult to lead the attacks.
In the end it was a well deserved result for the South African side who now make their first final appearance since 1995 when they were crowned champions.
Roger De Sa and his team will now eagerly await tomorrows semi final between Al-Ahly and Coton Sport to learn who they will face in the final in 2 weeks time.
Al-Ahly and Coton Sport drew the first tie in Garoua 1-1 and Al Ahly are favourites to advance from Cairo Tomorrow. The CAF Champions League final will be played on 1-3 Nov and 8-10 Nov in a two legged home and away tie between the two respectful teams.