South Africa’s Orlando Pirates shook off their poor recent form to come up with an excellent performance on the road in Libya and deliver a 2-0 victory over Al Ahli Tripoli in Sunday’s CAF Confederation Cup semifinal first leg. Innocent Maela and Goodman Mosele put the Sea Robbers up by two goals within the opening half hour and utilized clinical counter attacking and defending to keep the hosts from asserting their home advantage. The teams will meet again in Johannesburg in a week’s time for the return leg.
The visitors showed no ill effects from a 17-hour trip up to Benghazi and came out looking to be a threat in attack. While Al Ahli dominated possession throughout it was of little use against an efficient Pirates side. The Bucs seized upon their first opportunity to take the lead in the 8th minute when a Deon Hotto corner kick was headed back across to Kwame Peprah, whose headed shot on goal was knocked down by Ahli goalkeeper Mohamed Nashnoush right to Maela for an easy finish from close range with his own header.
Ahli failed to create too much trouble for Pirates goalkeeper Richard Ofori and when it appeared the hosts were starting to settle into the match, Pirates struck again just before the half hour mark. Peprah got free on the right wing and put in a cross that was headed away but right to Mosele at the edge of the box. The South Africa national team member took the ball down and smashed in a volley that left Nashnoush with no chance.
Pirates playmaker Hotto was influential throughout and nearly made it three for the Bucs when his header from a cross was well saved by Nashnoush before the Namibian volleyed the rebound over from close range. In the 59th minute Hotto did well to accelerate past Ahli’s Ali Maatouk for an open look on goal but Nashnoush did well to parry his shot wide.
The South African side did excellently throughout to keep Ahli from creating any open looks and held out quite comfortably after finding the first two goals. Al Ahli will have it all to do next week in South Africa as Pirates are now heavy favorites to return to the CAFCC final for the first time since 2015.
Highlights from Benghazi are below.