CAF Champions League
Result: Pirates 0-0 Esperance
Date: 5 October 2013
Venue: Orlando Stadium
Orlando Pirates have a stiff task ahead after they were held to a goalless draw by Esperance in their CAF Champions League semi-final first-leg on Saturday evening.
Pirates bossed possession in the opening minutes and were gifted a chance in the fourth minute when a defensive lapse saw the ball roll to Lennox Bacela at the far post.
The forward gained control but his shot from a tight angle hit the recovering defender when he could have looked for another option.
Esperance had been quiet in the opening 10 minutes but suddenly came to life and enjoyed two excellent chances through Cameroonian Yannick N'Djeng.
First he unleashed a ferocious strike just over the crossbar with Senzo Meyiwa beaten in the ninth minute. Then a minute later the Pirates goalkeeper had to come off his line quickly after the ball fell for the attacker and he made a sublime save.
Pirates continued to enjoy a lot of the ball but the Esperance goalkeeper was hardly troubled due to some stern defending from the Tunisian side.
Daine Klate couldn't get a clean connection with his volley at the edge of the area in the 23rd minute before Sifiso Myeni missed the chance of the half.
Klate whipped in a superb cross with Myeni timing his run perfectly but his free header at the far post was well off-target when he seemed set to score.
That proved to be the last clear chance of the half as well, despite a lively finish from the hosts, as the game remained locked at 0-0.
Some excellent defending four minutes into the new half prevented Bacela from getting a chance at the near post while Oupa Manyisa lashed a long-range strike wide from distance.
Chances were really hard to come by as Esperance parked a big yellow and red bus in front of the South Africans, who failed to produce the quality needed in the final third to get in behind.
Esperance then had a terrific chance with a free-kick at the edge of the area but the chance was curled just over the crossbar.
The game was set for a breathless finish with some last ditch tackling needed at both ends. Mpho Makola worked the goalkeeper with a free-kick before the stretching Bacela missed a cross from Segolela.
Matlaba was then denied by a phenomenal save from the goalkeeper after a trademark strike from way out while Meyiwa had to deal with the danger after Esperance had broken through on the flank.
With no later winner, Pirates now have a big job to do in Tunisia in two weeks if they want to book a place in the final.
Pirates: Senzo Meyiwa, Thabo Matlaba, Rooi Mahamutsa, Siyabonga Sangweni, Happy Jele, Thandani Ntshumayelo, Oupa Manyisa, Andile Jali, Sifiso Myeni, Lennox Bacela, Daine Klate.
Esperance: Moez Bin Sharifa, Chamseddine Dhaouadi, Khalil Chemmam, Samah Derbali, Mohamed Ben Mansour, Harrison Afful, Hocine Ragued, Khaled Mouelhi, Youssef Blaïli, Yannick N'Djeng, Ossama Darragi.
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