Matlaba’s late equaliser in the first leg final against Al Ahly
Al Ahly Stalwart Mohamed Aboutrika silenced a packed Orlando Stadium in the 14th minute of their first leg of the Caf Champions League. The Egyptian giants got a free kick outside the D-line and Aboutrika stepped up to take, he fires a rocket into the top right corner to get the better of Senzo Meyiwa. The first half goal put Pirates’ hopes of winning the trophy in doubt.
Pirates tried to get an equaliser for most of the match to no avail. Left back Thabo Matlaba charged forward as he always does to add numbers in attack, Matlaba restored the team’s faith with a low shot across the goal post to beat the keeper in the referee’s optional time.
Senzo Meyiwa saves penalties against TP Mazembe
Pirates travelled to Congo to face TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi, the Buccaneers lost the game 1-0 but advanced to the group stages of the Caf Champions League. The talking point of the match was the fact that late Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo “Nzori” Meyiwa saved two spot kicks. There was an outcry against the fairness of some of the calls made by the referee on the day, the match was not televised, and Mazembe are known for keeping broadcasters out of their home games.
Meyiwa saved a penalty during the game. The second penalty came in the 90th minute of the game and Mazembe captain Tresor Mputu walked up to the penalty spot, he was denied by Meyiwa with a firm save that saw him hold on to the ball. Nzori relived the moment he saved the second spot kick when interviewed by the media on the teams return to South Africa.
“90 minutes and another penalty! I cried. I cried for all the hard work I had done the whole game. Tears were falling down my face. I said a small prayer and looked at the bench … it was quiet. Everybody was sitting down. I urged them to stand up, because I was going to save this penalty again.”
This performance catapulted Meyiwa and Pirates into overnight superstars of African football.
Kasi flair and skills against Kaloum
Orlando Pirates got the business of the day out of the way when they hosted AS Kaloum at the Bidvest Stadium. Pirates scored four goals on the day, with Kaloum managing one goal away from home. After putting the game to bed, Pirates players displayed skills for the crowed in attendance towards the end of the game.
The Soweto giants went into this game with a 2-0 aggregate score, but their performance at Milpark was that of a team fighting to overturn a deficit. Pirates won 6-1 on aggregate.
Back-to-back victories against CS Sfaxien
Pirates beat Tunisian side CS Sfaxien in back to back matches. Thabo Rakhale was instrumental in the two-legged victory against the Tunisians.
The skilful Rakhale looped the ball over the goalkeeper in the first leg to find a goal for Pirates. In the second meeting of the two sides, Rakhale was on the score sheet again, as he placed the ball into the top right corner to beat shot-stopper Rami Jeridi for the second time in two weeks.