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CAF Confederation Cup

Mhango loss highlighted in Orlando Pirates' Al Ahli Tripoli win

6:28 AM GMT 09/05/2022
Thembinkosi Lorch & Frank Mhango, Orlando Pirates, December 2020
The Buccaneers won the first leg semi-final encounter 2-0 thanks to goals at the Martyrs of February Stadium from Innocent Maela and Goodman Mosele

Orlando Pirates' lack of killer instinct was exposed in the Caf Confederation Cup against Al Ahli Tripoli on Sunday, despite Bucs' victory.

At 2-0, the tie is still in the balance. An early goal for the Libyan side in Soweto next week, and Bucs will be under immense pressure.

At three or four nil, Pirates would effectively have had one foot in the final. And they could and should have grabbed three or four goals on Sunday night, such was the frequency and ease with which they tore apart the home defence.

One can only imagine what an on-form Mhango would have done with some of those one-on-one chances which the likes of Bandile Shandu, Deon Hotto, Siphesihle Ndlovu and Kwame Peprah missed.

In a game in which the Sea Robbers created 19 chances, of which seven were on target, they really have put the semi-final to bed and converted three or four.

It's a problem which they've been having all season, and it's telling that the likes of Shandu, primarily a right-back, and Happy Jele, a centre-back, have scored a substantial portion of Bucs’ goals in the Confederation Cup.

Meanwhile, Bucs' front-men all too often fire blanks or are struggling to get into the team. Between Tshegofatso Mabasa, Peprah, Terrence Dzvukamanja, Zakhele Lepasa and Thembinkosi Lorch, Pirates don't seem to have a reliable striker these days.

Mhango showed two seasons ago for Pirates that he was that man. But having been sidelined for most of this season, the Malawian has just announced his departure from Pirates.

If only things had worked out differently, Pirates could really have done with an on-form Mhango in the latter stages of the Caf Confederation Cup – the Malawian has a tendency to shine on the big stage, as he showed at Afcon a few months ago.

The club are yet to comment on Mhango’s exit claims, but it may be hard for the coaches to play him now. And he has in any case mostly been frozen out this season for alleged discipline problems.

Pirates will surely need to go to market next season for a new striker or two.