By Michael Madyira
Orlando Pirates were left staring an exit from the CAF Champions League in the face after succumbing 1-0 to Jwaneng Galaxy in a second preliminary round, first leg match at the National Stadium in Gaborone on Sunday.
Reported Kaizer Chiefs target Daniel Msendami struck for Galaxy 21 minutes into the match to condemn Pirates to their first defeat of the season in this competition.
The hosts’ coach, Morena Ramoreboli, used his close knowledge of the Buccaneers to plot against them and left the Soweto team needing to overturn this setback in the second leg on 29 September.
Pirates coach Jose Riveiro handed Souaibou Marou, central midfielder Miguel Timm and Lesedi Kapinga their first starts of the season, while goalkeeper Richards Ofori returned to guard Aea Robbers’ goal.
It backfired for the Buccaneers, who missed the services of in-form forwards Zakhele Lepasa and Patrick Maswanganyi.
Signs that it was going to be a difficult afternoon for the Buccaneers started showing as early as the second minute when they survived a scare from Galaxy’s Thabang Sesinyi, who narrowly missed the target with a close-range effort.
While Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo and Kabelo Dlamini had some promising shots, the home side also kept on persisting, this time around almost getting it through Omaatla Kebatho.
Galaxy were then rewarded for their efforts when Daniel Msendami broke the deadlock.
As the Soweto giants tried to hit back, Marou came close three times before the halftime break as Deon Hotto was also frustrated.
After the restart, Galaxy continued as a big threat to Pirates, who were struggling to overturn things.
The hosts thought they had doubled their advantage through Gift Moyo but his goal was ruled to have been scored from an offside position.
Substitute Fortune Makaringe frustratingly witnessed his shot go just wide towards the end as the Botswana champions held on to their slim lead.
Pictured above: Orlando Pirates
Image source: Orlando Pirates