Sunday May 16, 2021. 17:41
Raja Casablanca came from behind to hold Orlando Pirates to a 1-1 draw in a 2020-21 Caf Confederation Cup quarterfinal first-leg match at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.
The Green Eagles netted a valuable away goal through Ben Malango on the hour mark following Vincent Pule’s first-half opener.
Pirates dominated the early exchanges but found it difficult to unlock Raja’s defensive line. In turn, the visitors bided their time and were only denied the opener through a vital interception by Thulani Hlatshwayo in the 33rd minute. Malango looked set to score, only for the Pirates captain to head the ball over his own crossbar and away from danger.
His intervention proved pivotal as six minutes later the Buccaneers found a way past a Raja defence that didn’t concede a single goal in six group stage matches.
A defensive error from Abdeljalil Jbira allowed Pule to run in behind the Raja defence and he made no mistake, finishing with aplomb past Anas Zniti who could do little to keep out the forward’s left-footed shot.
Pirates pushed for a second following the break but were punished following a defensive error of their own. A routine free-kick caused the hosts all sorts of problems and after overpowering Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Malango fired a low shot past Waynde Sandilands to level matters.
The Buccaneers duly pressed forward in search of the winner but neither team were able to conjure any noteworthy chances in the final half-hour and the match ultimately ended in a 1-1 draw.
The second leg is set to take place in Casablanca, Morocco on the 23rd of May. The aggregate winner will face either Pyramids FC or Enyimba for a place in the final.
Orlando Pirates (1) 1 (Pule 39′)
Raja Casablanca (0) 1 (Malango 60′)
Orlando Pirates: Sandilands; Sam (Mako 76′), Nyauza, Hlatshwayo, Jooste, Mabaso, Motshwari (Monare 76′), Ndlovu (Dlamini 84′), Makaringe (Lorch 77′), Pule, Hotto (Mhango 84′).
Raja Casablanca: Zniti; Jbira, Hadhoudi, Haddad, Madkour, Benhalib (Habti 65′), Ngoma (Al Makahasi 90+2′), Arjoune (Azrida 65′), El Wardi, Malango, Rahimi (Sadaoui 80′).