Pirates aim to upset Raja in Casablanca

Pirates aim to upset Raja in Casablanca
Deon Hotto of Orlando Pirates challenges Marouane Hadhoudi of Raja Casablanca

by Bertin Basson

Saturday May 22, 2021. 13:46

Orlando Pirates will need to score at least one away goal if they are to cause an upset and advance in the 2020-21 CAF Confederation Cup at the expense of Raja Casablanca at Stade Mohammed V in Morocco on Sunday.

Kick-off is at 18h00 CAT (SA, GMT+2).

Raja came from behind to hold Pirates to a 1-1 draw in a quarterfinal first-leg match at Orlando Stadium last weekend. The Green Eagles netted a valuable away goal through Ben Malango on the hour mark following Vincent Pule’s first-half opener.

Pule’s goal was the first Raja conceded in the tournament proper with the Moroccans having established themselves as early favourites for the title following a flawless group stage campaign. The Green Eagles won all six of their Group D matches without conceding a single goal.

The 2018 champions beat Namungo, Pyramids FC and Nkana on home soil and will be aiming to make it four wins on the trot in Casablanca.

Pirates failed to win a single game on their travels enroute to a second-place finish in Group A and couldn’t manage a single goal. Successive goalless draws against ES Setif and Al Ahli Benghazi was followed by a late defeat at Enyimba.

Buccaneers head coach Josef Zinnbauer knows that the odds are stacked against his team going into the second-leg fixture, but is confident that they can register a positive result in Casablanca and keep their hopes of becoming the first South African team to win the Confed Cup alive.

“It was a good game for us, but the result was a little bit disappointing,” Zinnbauer said following the draw in Orlando. “Why? Because the team works very hard and in the last minute we had one or two chances to score but we didn’t get the result we wanted before the game. We have to fight now for the next match.

“In football you have all the possibilities. For us it’s better to win a game at home and it’s clear, don’t concede.

“Sure, it’s advantage for opponents, they scored [an away goal]. But we also have possibilities to score [away] and if you score then it’s not easy for the opponent, they have to score more.

“For me, two top teams meet again on Sunday and we are looking forward to it. We know they are a big team. We are going to play in a big stadium and we will work on it,” Zinnbauer added.

The aggregate winner will face either Pyramids FC or Enyimba for a place in the final.

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