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Raja In Driving Seat After 1-1 Draw At Pirates

Orlando Pirates and Raja Casablanca drew 1-1 in their CAF Confederation Cup quarter-final first leg match at the Orlando Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Orlando Pirates 1-1 Raja Casablanca

Pirates put on the early pressure, and Raja captain and goalkeeper Anas Zniti had to make a crucial punch to a Bongani Sam cross in the 4th minute to deny the home team the early lead. Three minutes later Zniti was on hand again to save Wayde Jooste’s goal bound cross, as Pirates looked to use their pace down the flanks.

Pirates defence frustrated Raja when they did have the ball, forcing the Moroccans to try from range. Ben Malango Ngita’s attempt however in the 23rd minute, was off target and never threatened Wayne Sandilands’ goal.

Four minutes later Soufiane Rahimi had a chance for the visitors, but his shot lacked power and Sandilands gathered easily.

Pirates had a good chance in the 33rd minute as Vincent Pule delivered a good ball into the box, but Deon Hotto was unable to get a touch to the ball.

Pirates grabbed the lead in the 39th minute, as Pule raced onto a ball flicked on by Hotto, and beat Zniti with his shot from just inside the box. That was the first goal Raja had conceded in seven games.

At halftime Pirates led by one goal to nil.

The second half saw Raja getting frustrated, and with tempers flaring, they took their frustration out on the officials and with some less than friendly fouls on the Pirates players. Rahimi tried to lob Sandilands in the 56th minute, but his attempt was never on target and flew over the goal.

But the Moroccans would find the equaliser, Malango Nita grabbing the all important away goal on the hour mark as he showed strength to dribble past Ntsikelelo Nyauza, who couldn’t stay on his feet, before finishing past Sandilands.

Substitute Thembinkosi Lorch tried a long range effort in the 76th minute, but his shot deflected off teammate Thulani Hlatshwayo and went behind.

Hotto had a good chance in the 83rd minute as he found the ball at his feet in the box, but the Namibian hesitated and couldn’t get a shot off.

Both teams had late half chances to win the game, but in the end, it finished 1-1, with Raja getting the all important away goal, giving Pirates a very tough task in the second leg in Casablanca.

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