In form striker Zakhele Lepasa came off the bench to score the only goal as Orlando Pirates got their 2023-24 CAF Champions League campaign off to a winning start with a 1-0 result over Comorian champions Djabal FC on Saturday. Lepasa turned in his sixth goal of the season from close range to conclude a frustrating outing for Pirates who struggled to find a breakthrough against the minnows throughout the ninety minutes.
Pirates coach José Riveiro brought several players into the his starting eleven for the match including struggling striker Bienvenu Eva Nga and Fortune Makaringe as well as a revamped defense. However the scoring struggles continued for Eva Nga despite the presence of playmakers like Monnapule Saleng and Deon Hotto. The hosts from Comoros bunkered well and managed to keep the match scoreless by halftime.
The frustration continued for Pirates in the second half. Defender Sandile Mthethwa had an apparent goal disallowed before the hour mark and Saleng missed a golden opportunity later on when he put his shot wide of an empty net after going around the Djabal goalkeeper. However the match winner finally arrived in the final ten minutes when a hopeful cross saw the goalkeeper fail to make a play on the ball, allowing substitute Katlego Otladisa to head back across for an easy finish for Lepasa.
Video of Saleng’s miss and the match winner from Lepasa is below. Pirates will host the second leg on August 25.