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Orlando Pirates sail to the Confederation Cup semi-finals.
A 2-0 win over Republic of Congo outfit AC Léopards was enough for the Buccaneers to book a semifinal final berth in the penultimates of the 2015 CAF Confederation group stages.
The Johannesburg hailing Pirates either needed a win or a draw to move on to the next stage of the tournament.
Orlando Pirates: Ovono, Jele, Sangweni, Gcaba, Mahamutsa, Sarr, Manyisa, Makola, Myeni, Gabuza, Erasmus
AC Léopards: Ngoe, Ndzana, Ngounga, Auzingoini, Bissiki, Kalema, Madila, Ndougsa, Ngouelou, Gandze, Babanda
With first choice short-stopper Brighton Mhlongo injured, Felipe Ovono had the responsibly to mind the Pirate’s goal. The Equatoguinean number-one lived up to the expectation of the fans, denying the Leopards from getting the lead in a one-one situation in the opening twenty minutes.
The hosts drew first blood 12 minutes before end of first half courtesy of Makola after some brilliant work by Erasmus.
The Lépoards continued pressing in search of an equaliser, but Ovono and the Pirate’s backline managed to protect their 1-0 lead leading into halftime.
AC Léopards had the chance to even the score from close range past the one hour mark, but Ngouelou’s effort went over the bar.
Oupa Manyisa then doubled the lead for Pirates in the dying minutes of regulation time when Pirate’s captain Oupa Manyisa netted a close-range shot.
En route to the semi-finals, the Pirate’s also overtake the top of the group, three points ahead of Zamalek who play North African rivals CS Sfaxien on Sunday.
Zamalek edged their way into the semi-finals earlier this week, and would need to overcome a three-goal differential to take the top spot in the group.
“We’re not concerned about who we face and where because to win these competitions you have to perform,” Pirate’s coach Eric Tinkler said via Twitter. “It gets harder and harder.”
Tinkler added the Bucs need to protect Ovono, who is their only Confederation Cup goalkeeper going forward.