Orlando Pirates began their Caf Confederation Cup Group A campaign in promising fashion toughing out a valuable point away from home in their “away” 0-0 draw against ES Setif at Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra, Ghana, on Wednesday night. Bucs, with a strong squad, are looking to go one better than their best placing in the competition of losing finalists to Tunisia’s Etoile du Sahel in 2015.
They will take hope of progressing past the group stage after a solid performance against tough Algerian outfit Setif. The match was played in Ghana due to concerns raised by the Algerian authorities over Covid-19. Nigeria’s Enyimba top Group A having begun with a 2-1 win at home against Libya’s Al Ahly Benghazi in the earlier game on Wednesday.
A tight, tersely contested opening half from two well-organised teams ended goalless. Setif edged the chances, but not by much. Inside the opening 10 minutes the Malian forward Malick Toure was played down the right by Setif, and his cross fell to right winger Houssam Ghacha, whose shot was cleared in front of the line by Siphesihle Ndlovu with Richard Ofori beaten.
Soon after that Ofori had to limp off injured, and was replaced by Siyabonga Mpontshane in Bucs’ goal in the 15th. Left wing Ahmed Kendouchi’s dipping shot from the left edge of the box slipped past the right post.
Pirates’ best chance of the half came when Ben Motshwari advanced on the left and fed Vincent Pule just inside the box, with his back to goal, who turned and struck past the left upright. If Pirates had enjoyed greater forward momentum at the end of the first half, they came out from the break in similar fashion.
Fortune Makaringe volleyed high and wide just back from the restart. Right-back Ndlovu was played through on the overlap on the right and also blasted high. Setif had a good chance when Mohamed Amoura, on for Toure moments earlier, beat Ndlovu and squared, Ghacha lifting his shot over the bar. The match took a toll for Bucs as, after Ofori’s earlier injury, captain Happy Jele had to be stretchered off with a leg in some discomfort in the 85th, replaced by Innocent Maela.