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Orlando Pirates v Al-Ittihad Match Report, 03/04/2022

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Orlando Pirates 0-0 Al-Ittihad: Bucs finish top of Caf Confederation Cup Group B despite draw
5:52 PM GMT 03/04/2022
Kabelo Dlamini of Orlando Pirates challenges Ghazi Ayadi of Al Ittihad, April 2022
Kabelo Dlamini was one of the Soweto giants' better players, but the 1995 African champions could not find the back of the net on the night

Orlando Pirates wrapped up their Caf Confederation Cup Group B campaign with a 0-0 draw against Libyan champions Al-Ittihad Tripoli at Orlando Stadium on Sunday evening.

Bongani Sam, Fortune Makaringe and Ben Motshwari were recalled to the starting line-up as Pirates co-head coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids made three changes to the team which faced and defeated JS Saoura 2-0 in Algeria on March 20.

Bucs had to avoid a defeat in order to finish at the top of Group B having booked their spot in the quarter-finals when they overcome Saoura.
The Buccaneers were on a revenge mission as they had lost 3-2 to Al-Ittihad in the reverse fixture which was played in Libya two months ago.

Muaid Eisay, Sanad Al Warfali and Omar Al Khouja, who all scored against Pirates, were named in the starting line-up with the Teha needing a point in order to secure their spot in the quarter-finals of Africa's secondary club tournament. 
Pirates dominated the match from the start and they spent most of the time camped inside the opposition’s half with Kabelo Dlamini and Bongani Sam looking lively for the hosts.

Sam delivered a quality cross that was pushed into Bandile Shandu's path by goalkeeper Muad Allafi inside the visitors' box. However, Shandu's unleashed a tame shot which was easily saved by Allafi.

The hosts should have taken the lead after some great work by Dlamini, who beat his marker in the left flank before playing a low cross that found Makaringe unmarked in Teha's box.

Somehow, Makaringe failed to direct the ball into an empty net from close range as he placed it off target much to the dismay of the few Bucs fans who were inside the historic stadium. 
Al-Ittihad were then able to contain Pirates until Rwandan match referee Samuel Uwikunda blew the half-time whistle and the score was 0-0 at the interval with the hosts failing to turn their possession into goals. 
The Teha tried to take Bucs by surprise after the restart as they pressed the hosts in the opening exchanges and Elmehdi Mohamed Elhouni forced keeper Richard Ofori into a diving save.

Mohamed Zubiya then came close to scoring from the resultant corner-kick as his header went narrowly wide of Ofori's right upright with the Ghanaian shot-stopper rooted to the ground.

With Al-Ittihad's defence looking tired whenever the hosts launched attacks, Ncikazi and Davids decided to refresh the attack by introducing Frank Mhango and Thembinkosi Lorch.

However, Dlamini remained the Buccaneers' main threat in front of goal as his curling effort was nearly turned home by Ghazi Ayadi with Allafi well-beaten as the ball went just over the crossbar.

Ultimately the match ended in a 0-0 draw as Al-Ittihad, whose defence frustrated Pirates on the night, booked their spot in the quarter-finals after finishing second in Group B.

Nevertheless, Bucs finished top of Group B and they have now turned their attention to the PSL as they are scheduled to face Sekhukhune United on Wednesday.