Al-Ahly SC were denied a win in the Afrrican Champions League (CAF) final after a last minute goal by South Africa’s Orlando Pirates in the first leg.
The game was played on Saturday in Soweto, South Africa at a nearly sold-out Orlando Stadium. The massive attendance came after the South African Football Association called on all football fans in South Africa to rally behind the Pirates for this “defining moment not just for Orlando Pirates” said the SAFA president Danny Jordaan, “but for our football in general.”
The Devils came very close to winning the game after 90 minutes of withholding a strong Bucs attack. The home team relied heavily on crosses to try a strong Egyptian defence, but the defence withheld perfectly. After attempting to break from the sides, the home side attempted long shots but all were blocked by the seven-time African champions.
At the 3rd minute of the game, prolific striker Lennox Bacela had a long rage effort on Sherif Ekramy’s goal but was saved easily by the Egyptian national goalkeeper.
At the 44th minute Walid Soliman shot a dangerous ball from the left side of the 18 yard box, however it landed on the side netting.
The game was played heavily in the Egyptian half, with the loud home crowd chanting motivating their team for most of the game.
Al-Ahly’s defence, made up of Sherif Abdel-Fadil, Wael Gomaa, Mohamed Naguib, Sayed Moawad, and Ahmed Fathi, had a strong physical presence in front of a persistent Orlando Pirates offence made up of Tlou Segolela, Daine Klate and Lennox Bacela.
The Bucs were stressed by an early goal by veteran midfielder Mohamed Abu Trika. Abu Trika executed a terrific curved free kick in the 14th minute. An adamant Orlando side were awarded a number of corners and free-kicks, but all went to waste.
In the third minute of added time Pirates midfielder Thabo Matlaba shot a low ball from long range which passed swiftly under the hands of Ekramy to find the back of the net and provide another shot for the home team in the second-leg.
Sunday will see the return leg at the Arab Contractors stadium.
According to FilGoal.com, Al-Ahly’s stats predict that tying the first leg always results in the Al-Ahly winning the second leg.
According to state-owned Al-Ahram, veteran Egyptian defender Wael Gomaa expressed his admiration for the Orlando Pirates, saying that “the second leg game won’t be easy”.