Rakhale gives Bucs an important win against Sfaxien
Thabo Rakhale scored a superb goal to inspire Orlando Pirates to a 1-0 away win over CS Sfaxien in the Confederation Cup at the Taieb Mhiri Stadium in Sfax, Tunisia, on Sunday night.
The 25-year-old winger scored the only goal of the game with a brilliant chip early in the second half, sealing a result which sees the Buccaneers strengthen their grip on second place in Group B of the continental competition and return to winning form after losing at home to Zamalek two weeks ago.
Pirates created the first clear scoring chance in the 13th minute, sending Lehlohonolo Majoro clean through on goal, but Sfaxien goalkeeper Jeridi Rami was able to deflect the striker’s shot wide of the target.
Sfaxien dominated most of the remainder of the first half, though they were unable to really test Bucs goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo. However, the hosts’ passing, movement and pace, as well as their threat from set pieces, made them look the likelier scorers.
Yet Bucs were unlucky not to be given a penalty in the 38th minute, as Sifiso Myeni was cut down with the goal at his mercy from Majoro’s square pass. Sfaxien defender Saidani Wajdni was the guilty party, but the referee waved away Pirates’ appeals.
At the very least the visitors should have been granted a penalty, while the denial of a clear scoring chance from Wajdni should have seen him sent off. In the end, neither event occurred and the half ended goalless.
The second half had barely started when Pirates stunned the home crowd with the opening goal. Winger Thabo Rakhale found himself free down the right and threatened a cross for a teammate, before suddenly chipping the advancing goalkeeper with a brilliant effort that looped just inside the far post.
Sfaxien struggled to create clear scoring chances, though the visitors did need Mhlongo to make two good saves in quick succession with about 10 minutes of regulation time to play, while at the other end Rami denied substitute Kermit Erasmus from a chance that should have killed off the game.
Pirates were able to hold out in the dying minutes and secure three points, while Sfaxien’s defeat leaves them with just one point from three matches. The return fixture between the teams will be held at Orlando Stadium in Soweto in a fortnight’s time.
Source: Orlando Pirates