Orlando Pirates poised for tough Raja Casablanca clash

Orlando Pirates poised for tough Raja Casablanca clash
Josef Zinnbauer, coach of Orlando Pirates

by Bertin Basson

Saturday May 15, 2021. 14:00

Orlando Pirates will be eyeing a favourable result on home soil when they host high-flying Raja Casablanca in a 2020-21 Caf Confederation Cup quarterfinal first-leg match on Sunday.


Kick-off at Orlando Stadium is set for 15h00 CAT.


The Buccaneers go into the two-legged tie as underdogs for the mere fact that Raja are the form team in the competition. The Green Eagles finished top of Group D with a perfect record of six wins from six matches, while they scored 13 goals (three more than any other team) and are yet to concede in the tournament proper.


CONFED CUP GROUPS


Furthermore, Raja currently occupy second spot in the Botola Pro while they boast a proven pedigree, not only in African continental competitions, but also in the Caf Confederation Cup which they won in 2018.


Pirates finished second behind Enyimba in a very competitive Group A and will be hoping to go one better than the runners-up finish they achieved in 2015.


Victory in the Confederation Cup would make up for a league campaign which has fizzled out in recent weeks, while it would also complete a trophy double following success in the MTN8 earlier this season.


With that in mind, Pirates head coach Josef Zinnbauer feels the upcoming match against Raja was to blame for his team’s 0-0 draw at Stellenbosch FC earlier this week. The result ended the Soweto club’s slim hopes of overtaking DStv Premiership leaders Mamelodi Sundowns


“I think the minds of many players were on the Raja match,” said Zinnbauer.


“Raja rank among the best clubs in Africa and we have to improve dramatically to have a chance of beating them and going on and become the first South African winners of this competition.


“We have watched four or five of their games and they are a very good team. They have a good squad and they play a good system. We need to do our best to get a good result in the first match so as to not put ourselves under pressure for the second game,” he added.


This will be the first meeting between Pirates and Raja since the 1997 Caf Champions League group stages. The Green Eagles went on to be crowned champions that season.


The second leg is set to take place in Casablanca on the 23rd of May. The aggregate winner will face either Pyramids FC or Enyimba for a place in the final.







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