Thabo Rakhele’s solitary strike was enough to hand Orlando Pirates maximum points against CS Sfaxien at Stade Taied Mhiri on Sunday evening in the CAF Confederation Cup. The Buccaneers held on to win the match 1-0 despite late pressure from the struggling Tunisian club. The home side looked sharper in the early exchanges but failed to make its dominance count.
Eric Tinkler’s men had the first real chance at goal in the 12th minute but Lehlohonolo Majoro failed to beat the keeper. The Sea Robbers were outplayed in the middle of the park and gave away cheap set pieces. Sifiso Myeni had a golden chance late in the half but was tripped before he could take the shot and oddly the referee waved play on.
Constant pressure from Tinkler’s men failed to bear fruit as it remained 0-0 at the end of a lukewarm first stanza. Straight after the restart Rakhele capitalised on a defensive error winning the ball from the right wing and superbly lobbed it over the keeper to make it 1-0. The Ghost looked like scoring whenever they pushed forward as they looked to double their lead from that point on.
The home side failed to put in decent passes in their attempts to penetrate the stiff Pirates defence. With less then 20 minutes left on the clock, Sfaxien changed tactics and looked to hit the Buccaneers with long balls. Brighton Mhlongo pulled off a series of great saves to deny the desperate Tunisians as the visitors continued to play deep in their own half thus inviting danger.
Substitute Kermit Erasmus was denied twice by the keeper before sending his rebound header against the post later in the half as Tinkler’s men continued to search for the insurance goal. In the end, Pirates held on to win the match 1-0 to go five points clear of both AC Leopards and the Tunisian club and just three points shy of log leaders Zamalek.