local soccer 16.9.2013 06:00 am

Pirates’ dream not over yet

Orlando Pirates’ Caf Champions League dream is not over, Lennox Bacela argues, but has been momentarily put on hold with the outfit planning to make it a reality in front of their home crowd this weekend.

Two trips – first to Egypt, where they lost to Zamalek, and then to Congo-Brazzaville, where AC Leopards beat them 1-0 on Saturday – have seen the Sea Robbers remain stagnant on seven points. That’s three points short of what coach Roger de Sa targeted at the start of the group stages as being enough to see them into the semifinals.

Pirates’ loss to Leopards, through Dimitri Bissiki’s goal, has opened things up in the group that also has defending champions Al-Ahly and their neighbours Zamalek who have five African titles under their belt.

“We gave it our all against Leopards,” Bacela said.

“We won’t complain about the pitch or the refereeing, that’s all part of the Champions League. We still have our destiny in our own hands which bodes well for us.

“We have to beat Al-Ahly and we are through to the semifinals. After beating them in their own backyard, I don’t see why we won’t be able to do that at home where we are unbeaten in the campaign.”

Pirates handed Al-Ahly their first home defeat in the tournament in over a decade which they followed with a 4-1 demolition of Zamalek. They have to repeat that feat over Al-Ahly at Orlando Stadium this weekend to make it to the last four, for the first time in seven years.

Bacela is confident of the club’s passage to the semifinals.

“People started taking notice of Pirates after the two wins over the Egyptian clubs,” he said. “They gave us lots of respect and analysed us more.

“When we were entering the pitch to play Al-Ahly, they called us little people. We also know our opponents better, which is why I am confident we will reach the semifinals.”

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