WINDHOEK, December 22 – South African Premier League side Orlando Pirates booked their place in the group stage of the Caf Champions League by beating Namibia’s African Stars 1-0 on aggregate after two legs.
The Soweto-based side beat Stars 1-0 in the second leg of this preliminary encounter in the Sam Nujoma Stadium on Saturday after the teams fought out a goalless draw a week earlier in the first leg in South Africa.
Pirates had enough opportunities in the first half to open the scoring, but some good goalkeeping by Stars’ Ratanda Mbazuvara, as well as sloppy finishing by the Soweto side, made sure no goals went in in the first 45 minutes.
Thembinkosi Lorch had a glorious opportunity in the 20th minute, but he could only hit the side netting. Marshall Munetsi did have the ball in the net just before halftime for the visitors, but he was ruled offside.
The Buccaneers from Soweto were the more aggressive side in the second half and it did not take long for Milutin Sredojevic’s side to make their mark. Good build-up play from Vincent Pule and Lorch found Justin Shonga in the box. Shonga’s first shot was saved and so too his second, but the ball found its way back to the Zambian who managed to get it over the line with his third attempt (1-0).
Pule and Lorch both had opportunities to seal the victory late in the match, but both put their shots high and wide of the Stars’ goal. The home side came close just before the end, but Edwin Korukuve could not get the proper direction to beat Pirates’ keeper Jackson Mabokgwane.
Gabriel Kapopo bothered the Pirates’ defence at times, but could not do enough to get a goal for his side.
While captain Happy Jele and his Pirates’ teammates will now get a chance to try and win a second Champions League title for the club, African Stars will have to take part in the play-offs to qualify for a place in the Caf Confederations Cup. (ANA)