Orlando Pirates reach Caf Confederation Cup semifinals after beaten Simba 4-3 on penalties
Innocent Maela provided the assist for the only goal of the game and the Buccaneers left-back also produced a solid performance at the back.
Orlando Pirates progressed to the Caf Confederation Cup semi-finals for the second time after defeating Tanzanian champions Simba SC 4-3 on penalties following 1-1 draw on aggregate on Sunday evening.
Kwame Peprah was the hero for the four-time PSL champions as he scored the only goal of the quarter-final second-leg encounter in the second half with the Buccaneers claiming a 1-0 victory at the Mecca of South African football, Orlando Stadium.
Simba were reduced to 10 players just before the hour-mark after Crispin Mugalu was sent off.
Co-coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids made five changes to the Pirates side which lost 1-0 to Simba in the first-leg clash in Tanzania last weekend.
Thembinkosi Lorch and Olisa Ndah were among the five players who were recalled to the starting line-up as Buccaneers looked to secure a win and also extend their unbeaten run at home to 14 matches in the Confederation Cup.
While Sadio Kanoute and Joash Onyango walked straight into the Simba starting line-up after they missed the first-leg match due to suspension, while former Pirates star Bernard Morisson was a noticeable absentee as he couldn’t secure a visa to travel to South Africa due to a previous immigration offence.
The Lions of Msimbazi were winless in their last five away matches in the Confederation Cup.
Pirates dominated the game from the start – searching for an early goal which could have unsettled the Simba defence.
Goalkeeper Aishi Manula became a busy man between the sticks for the visitors from the first whistle as he pulled off a fine saving save to deny Terrence Dzvukanmaja and Tanzania’s finest shot-stopper also blocked a curling free-kick from Deon Hotto with his side under siege.
Peprah’s link-up play was good as won aerial balls and combined well with his teammates as the targetman. The Ghana under-23 international set up Bandile Shandile, who was through on goal, but somehow the attack-minded full-back ballooned his effort over the crossbar with only Manula to beat as he failed to add to the four goals he has scored in Africa’s secondary club tournament this term.
The Buccaneers kept pushing for their first goal in this tie and Ndah decided to try his luck from distance. The Nigeria international unleashed a powerful low shot which was saved by a diving Manula at the near-post and it proved to be the last piece of action in the first half. The score was 0-0 at the interval with Pirates trailing 1-0 on aggregate.
The hosts continued from where they left off in the first half – constantly launching attacks with Ndah also pushing forward. Simba were reduced to 10 players after Mugalu was shown a red card after he had made a dangerous tackle on Ndah and the DR Congolese striker received his second yellow card of the game which led to his dismissal.
Bucs then upped the tempo and they finally broke the deadlock as they took advantage of their numerical superiority over the Reds of Msimbazi.
Peprah headed home Innocent Maela’s curling cross from the left to make it 1-0 to Pirates on the hour-mark, but the former King Faisal striker looked to have been marginally offside.
Ncikazi and Davids then introduced strikers Tshegofatso Mabasa and Frank Mhango as the Buccaneers searched for the winning goal in order to avoid the drama of the penalty shootout.
Simba had eliminated Pirates’ former PSL rivals, Santos FC from the 2003 Caf Champions League on penalties as they won 9-8 in the first round tie.
The last chance of the match fell for Hotto in stoppage time and the speedy winger headed the ball inches wide of the target.
The game ended in a 1-0 win in favour of Pirates on the night and with the two sides locked at 1-1 on aggregate.
Pirates then beat Simba 4-3 on penalties with Ofori denying Jonas Mkude and he went on to convert the last spot-kick to send the Soweto giants to the semi-finals.
The Buccaneers reached the semi-finals of the Confederation Cup for the second time since 2015 and they will now take on the winner between Libyan clubs Al Ittihad and Al Ahli in the last four.
Their next game is against Chippa United in a PSL encounter at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.