Two goalkeeping errors, a missed penalty, and a thumping header meant Orlando Pirates beat Enyimba 2-1 in driving rain at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday nightin their second game of this season’s CAF Confederations group phase.
The two goalkeeping errors led to the goals conceded by both Orlando Pirates and Enyimba in the first half.
The South Africa team bossed proceedings for the first half-hour as Enyimba sat off their hosts-keeping a low block and denying Pirates space in the third quarter of the pitch. That left Pirates to shoot from a distance. A mistimed and miscalculated clearance on 18 minutes from Nelson Ogbonnaya gave Pirates the first corner kick of the encounter.
Enyimba ventured forward for the first time through a fast break, which saw Imo Obot gallop forward, but he was fouled. From the resultant free-kick, Anayo Iwuala blazed over. On 26 minutes, John Noble flapped at a cross he should have caught, which left Deon Hotto the chance to backheel a goal and give Pirates the lead.
Fatai Osho was tearing his hair out from the mistake, but that goal jarred Enyimba into action as they started venturing forward. Oladapo fired a free-kick just over from almost 40 yards and minutes later Anayo had a one-on-one chance, but he shot directly at Siyabonga Mpontshane.
Victor Mbaoma had the next chance, but after getting around his marker, he rushed his shot over the bar. Enyimba continued to press forward and on the very next fast break, Mpontshane brought Anayo down in the box and received a yellow card. Oladapo stepped up and sent Mpontshane the wrong way. That was the captain’s second goal in the two games-having scored against Ahly Benghazi in their first match.
The second half was all about controlling the ball and the pace in the driving rain. A running theme for Enyimba was a penchant for giving away the ball and handing Pirates scoring chances.
In the 54th minute, they handed Pule a shooting chance but Noble made a double save, and in the 60th minute, another shooting chance which substitute, Abel Mabasa, shot straight at Noble.
Pirates were handed the chance to take a second lead in the game when Nelson Ogbonnaya felled a Pirate attacker just inside the box. Enyimba were thrown a lifeline when Mabasa lost his footing as he took the kick and looped it high and wide.
Noble made a great save from a Dlamini shot from outside the box with 10 minutes left on the clock. From a free kick on the edge of the box in the 83rd minute, Enyimba players felt aggrieved with Cameroonian referee, Blaise Ngwa. In the melee that followed Oladapo and Anayo were both shown yellow cards just as Pirates threw everything at Enyimba to get a winner.
Mabasa got his redemption with just a minute left when he headed in directly from a corner kick. The South African team needed that goal but it came from an unnecessary corner conceded by the Enyimba team, who had reverted to their passive nature in the first 30 minutes of the encounter.
Pirates went top of Group A with four points with Enyimba on three, while ES Setif are third with one point from one match and Al Ahly Benghazi in fourth place with no points.
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