A solitary goal from Linda Mntambo proved to be the difference as Orlando Pirates ran out 1-0 winners in the second leg of a CAF Confederation Cup playoff round clash against BTC Premiership champions Jwaneng Galaxy this past Sunday. Galaxy have now been eliminated from the CAF Confederation Cup with a 4-0 aggregate loss after losing the first leg 3-0 in Gaborone a week ago.
Despite the overall aggregate score insinuating a great gulf in class, Galaxy made a positive impression on Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer. In his pre match press remarks, Zinnbauer referred to Galaxy as a tough opponent and stated how they should not be underestimated even though Pirates had a healthy 3-0 cushion heading into the second leg in Johannesburg. Galaxy made a bright start as they applied early pressure aiming to score an early goal.
They had three set pieces from promising areas of the opposition’s half in the first 10 minutes but they could not penetrate Pirates’ defensive wall as the home side’s defenders won the first headers as well as the second balls to thwart Galaxy’s efforts. Galaxy came close to scoring in the 30th minute through a Thero Setsile free kick as his well taken effort hit the cross bar much to the relief of Pirates stopper Siyabonga Mpontshane.
Galaxy then got another chance in a breakaway move in the 38th minute but Setsile had no other option but to try a long range effort as none of his teammates had covered enough space to support him in transition, his shot was off target and the promising move was eventually wasted. Pirates then took the lead through Mntambo in the 55th minute to make the tie even more comfortable for Pirates.
Setsile then got another chance, in the 81st minute, to score what would have been a consolation goal in the tie as he was clean through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat, however, he could not keep his balance as he hit the ball with the outer foot and Mpontshane grabbed the effort without any trouble. Pirates have now advanced to the group stages of the CAF Confederation Cup.
Unfortunately for Galaxy, after failing to reach the group stages they have now missed out on a guaranteed P2.75million pay out from CAF. The P2.75 million prize money is given to teams that finish third of fourth in the group stages while advancing from the group stages has a guaranteed payout of P3.5 million.