Al Ahli Tripoli 0-2 Orlando Pirates: Mission accomplished as Bucs move closer to cup final
Innocent Maela, Orlando Pirates, December 2021
The South African side, beaten finalists in the competition in 2015, could have won by a larger margin if they converted more of their many chances

Orlando Pirates were comfortable 2-0 winners over Al Ahli Tripoli in Sunday evening's Caf Confederation Cup first leg semi-final encounter at the Martyrs of February Stadium in Benghazi.

Pirates played some excellent transition football on the night and really should have scored more than the two goals, netted by Innocent Maela and Goodman Mosele in the opening stanza.

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The deadlock took only seven minutes to break as left-back Maela headed into an empty net after Kwame Peprah's initial header had hit the bar and bounced back into play.

Al Ahli responded with some purposeful play, upping their intensity. Pirates though held their nerve well at the back and when the chance came, pounced to make it 2-0 in the 29th minute.

The goal came through Mosele, who finished sublimely with a volley after Peprah's cross was deflected into his path just inside the box.

A couple of minutes later and a well-worked Pirates move saw Bandile Shandu getting in on goal, but a timely tackle prevented him from getting a shot away.

Shandu also had a good chance to score in first-half added time after Lorch had won possession on the edge of the box, but he failed to keep the shot down.

Moments later, Hotto was within inches of adding Bucs' third goal when his header struck the crossbar.

Pirates continued to enjoy scoring chances after the restart and when Hotto went clean through on goal on the hour he looked set to score. But there were no celebrations from the Namibian as Muhammad Nashnoush made an outstanding save with his foot.

Shandu had yet another chance, this time after Peprah nodded on a long ball in the 67th minute, but his effort was directed straight at home keeper Nashnoush.

Bucs’ game-plan of hitting their opponents on the counter-attack continued to pay dividends as a slick move led to a chance for Abel Mabaso, but from 20-yards he curled his shot just over.

The Sea Robbers continued to cut open the Ahli defence and more one-on-one chances followed as Peprah had his shot saved by Nashnoush and then substitute Siphesihle Ndlovu fired wide after also going clean in on goal.

The game was delayed a couple of times by floodlight failure in Benghazi, delaying proceedings by about 10 minutes.

The hosts tried to build some late pressure in order to get back in the tie, but the PSL side remained composed at the back.

The return game takes place at the Orlando Stadium next Sunday.