South African giants Orlando Pirates fought back from two goals down to claim a 2-2 draw away to Gabon’s CF Mounana in the first leg of their second round CAF Confederation Cup tie in Libreville on Sunday.
The Buccaneers started slowly and were put under pressure from the onset by the home side, who claimed the lead on the half hour mark after a defence-splitting pass that caught the visitors’ backline napping.
Pirates also needed young goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo to make several good saves, while Mounana also struck the woodwork as they looked to add to their advantage in the first half. The interval saw the Gabonese 1-0 up.
The second half continued in a similar vein to the first, though Pirates did enjoy some more of the play and showed greater attacking intent. However, Mounana doubled their advantage from the penalty spot after a foul in the 18-yard box by defender Ayanda Gcaba.
Yet, with around a quarter hour of regulation time left, Pirates substitute Lehlohonolo Majoro scored a crucial goal to halve the deficit for the South African side and give them hope of recovering the tie.
Eight minutes later Thabo Rakhale scored a fantastic individual goal, using his skill to fool the home side’s defenders before finishing past the goalkeeper to make it 2-2 and put Bucs in the driving seat for the second leg with two away goals in the bag.
The return match will be played at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on the weekend of 1-3 May.