Tshegofatso Mabaso of Orlando Pirates celebrates scoring a goal during the CAF Confederation Cup match between Orlando Pirates and Enyimba at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, on March 17, 2021. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES
Tshegofatso Mabaso of Orlando Pirates celebrates scoring a goal during the CAF Confederation Cup match between Orlando Pirates and Enyimba at Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, on March 17, 2021. Picture: LEFTY SHIVAMBU/GALLO IMAGES

Orlando Pirates pulled off a crucial 2-1 win over Enyimba of Nigeria in their Caf Confederation Cup group stage clash at a wet Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.

With this win, the Buccaneers have moved to the top of Group A with four points from two matches and they will be looking to solidify their position with another win in their next match, against Al Ahly Benghazi of Libya in April.

Pirates secured victory with an injury-time header by striker Tshegofatso Mabaso who made up for earlier missing from the penalty spot.

Pirates took the lead on 26 minutes and in style when Namibian international Deon Hotto sneaked the ball into the net with a clever back heel after Enyimba defenders failed to clear the danger.

The opening goal was a timely reward for the Buccaneers as they had been knocking on the Enyimba door with the likes of Linda Mntambo, Vincent Pule, Hotto and Fortune Makaringe.

A few minutes later, Enyimba reacted by breaching the Pirates defence with a quick counterattack that ended with Iwula Emmanuel in the box, but he was denied by an alert Siyabonga Mpontshane between the Pirates poles.

On the stroke of half time, Enyimba equalised from the penalty spot as their skipper, Oladapo Tunde, showed nerves of steel to sent Mpontshane the wrong way.

Mpontshane had hesitated to move out of his line and he thus could only bring down an advancing Emmanuel in the box. Referee Ngwa Blaise Yuven pointed at the spot.

Later, Enyimba goalkeeper John Noble had to stretch at full length to deny Pule who unleashed a powerful pile driver from the edge of the box after he had received a pass Ben Motshwari on 55 minutes.

Pirates missed out on an opportunity to retake the lead after 76 minutes when Mabaso slipped and put his penalty kick over the crossbar after Gabadinho Mhango was brought down in the box by Ogbonnaya Nelson.

But Pirates had the last laugh as Mabaso headed home in the dying minutes for this crucial victory that gets their campaign back on track.

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