Pirates have no choice but to beat Al Ahly
CAPE TOWN — It has been seven years since there was a match of such importance for any South African club, as Orlando Pirates seek to advance in the African Champions League when they meet holders Al Ahly in Sunday’s last group encounter at Orlando Stadium. Victory would not only ensure a first semifinal place for a Premier Soccer League club since 2006 but also give Pirates several advantages in their bid to win the continent’s top club prize. A win over Ahly, who Pirates sensationally beat 3-0 away last month, would give Bucs top place in Group A and a much smoother passage to a potential trophy win.
If they top the table, Pirates would play Coton Sport of Cameroon rather than Esperance of Tunisia in what is patently an easier semifinal proposition. They would also host the second leg at home, which is a decided advantage in this format of competition too.
Group A winners are also guaranteed to play the second leg of the final in November at home. Victory would also ensure Pirates need not look over their shoulders at the outcome of the other group match being played at the same time between Zamalek of Egypt and the Republic of Congo’s AC Leopards.
Al Ahly are already through in one of the top two places irrespective of any outcome but Leopards could yet usurp Pirates — but only if the Buccaneers do not triumph. If both Pirates and Leopards win, they advance to 10 points and the group ends in a three-way tie at the top.
It makes for a simple equation for Pirates but getting the better of Ahly is going to be no simple task, even if Andile Jali, Happy Jele and Thabo Matlaba are back from suspension.... Read the full, comprehensive news article and discuss at Business DaySimilar Stories