Innocent Maela of Orlando Pirates
Orlando Pirates are in control of their CAF Confederation Cup semi-final tie against Al Ahli Tripoli after emerging 2-0 victors in the first leg at the Martyrs of February Stadium on Sunday evening.
First-half goals from Innocent Maela and Goodman Mosele put the Buccaneers in the driver’s seat going into the second leg at the Orlando Stadium on May 15.
Pirates pushed the hosts back in the early exchanges and they soon reaped the rewards as Maela broke the deadlock in the eighth minute.
The left-back had the simple task of nodding the ball home from close range after Muhammad Nashnoush failed to hold onto Kwame Peprah’s initial header from a corner.
Fathi Jabal’s side looked to respond and Mohammad El Fakih tested Richard Ofori with a strike from range on 17 minutes before Mohammed Al-Tabbal fired just wide of the right post with another shot from outside the area three minutes later.
Mosele drew a routine save out of Nashnoush after lining up a shot from distance on 21 minutes and the action quickly switched to the other end as Mohammad Abu Zrayq steered a header narrowly past the right post from Mohamed El-Munir’s cross.
However, Amabhakabhaka struck again just before the half-hour mark through Mosele, who was at the right place at the right time to tap home from a few yards out.
The Sea Robbers nearly added a third on the stroke of half-time when Deon Hotto got on the end of Maela’s cross, but Nashnoush pulled off a fine save to keep his header out.
Maela directed a header just over the crossbar from a free-kick seven minutes after the restart, while back up the other end Bader Ahmed saw his header well saved by Ofori.
Bucs turned up the pressure as the second half progressed, with Hotto testing Nashnoush from inside the area on 59 minutes after being played in by Peprah before the Ghanaian drew a comfortable save out of the home keeper with a strike from range in the 61st minute.
Nashnoush was also required to save a curling effort from Bandile Shandu inside the area on 67 minutes, while a long-range shot from Abel Mabaso just cleared the target seven minutes later.
The Tripoli outfit threatened to halve the deficit nine minutes from time as Mohamed Makkari saw his effort from range drift just beyond the right post and Thulani Hlatshwayo went close for the visitors in stoppage time with a header that cleared the target by a few inches.
Al Ahli Tripoli (0) 0
Orlando Pirates (2) 2 (Maela 8′, Mosele 29′)
Al Ahli Tripoli: M. Nashnoush, A. Maetouq, W. Bousnina, A. El Trbi, M. Mounir, M. El Fakih, M. Jaddour (S. Al Taher 41′), B. Ahmed (A. Arqoub 64′), M. Abu Zrayq (M. Makkari 64′), A. Saltou (M. Al-Mehdi 75′), M. Al-Tabbal (M. El-Tarhouni 46′).
Orlando Pirates: R. Ofori, B. Shandu (T. Hlatshwayo 69′), N. Nyauza, H. Jele, I. Maela, A. Mabaso (B. Sam 90+8′), B. Motshwari, G. Mosele, T. Lorch (S. Ndlovu 79′), K. Peprah, D. Hotto.