Heart-break for Pirates in CAF Confederation Cup final

RS Berkane broke Orlando Pirates hearts with an ill-deserved 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory following a 1-1 draw in the final of the CAF Confederation Cup at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Nigeria on Friday.

The Moroccans were second best for the entire game but took their one clear chance as substitute Thabang Monare was adjudged to have committed a foul in the box as he went to clear a corner and Youssef El Fahli converted the penalty.

Referee Janny Sikazwe initially did not award the spot-kick, but was persuaded to change his decision by the Video Assistant Referee.

It looked as though that would be the final score, until Pirates rather burgled an equaliser. Thembinkosi Lorch looked to pass the ball into a teammate in the six-yard box, but somehow the ball evaded everybody and nestled in the far corner.

That sent the game to penalties and Lorch saw his effort saved by goalkeeper Hamza Hamiani Akbi, with the Moroccans proving efficient from 12 yards.

Berkane offered virtually nothing going forward in the match but claimed their second Confederation Cup title in three years after they also lifted the trophy in 2020.

Pirates dominated the first half and created a number of good opportunities to take the lead.

The best of these fell to Deon Hotto inside three minutes as he was set free on goal with a superb through-ball from Kabelo Dlamini, but as he tried to adjust to shoot with his left foot, his effort was tame and easy for goalkeeper Akbi.

Happy Jele headed over the bar from Goodman Mosele’s cross, and Hotto put a good free-kick opportunity well over the bar, while Badile Shandu forced a good save from the keeper.

But too often Pirates found themselves in good positions, only to squander the chance with a poor final ball, Thembinkosi Lorch a major culprit in this regard.
Richard Ofori in the Pirates goal was untroubled in the opening period and only had one, relatively simple, save to make.

Hotto was denied again by the Berkane keeper from point-blank range as his misses started to tally up.

Lorch also provided a tame finish with a shot from the edge of the box, but chances were few and far between in the second period despite the fact that Pirates dominated possession.

Hotto burst into the box but could not pick out a teammate for what would have been a tap-in goal, his low cross deflecting agonisingly just wide off a defender.

Berkane had the chance to take the lead just minutes into the extra-time period when Thabang Monare, who had only been on the field a short while, was adjudged by the Video Assistant Referee to have committed the foul. El Fahli stroked home the spot-kick as he set Ofori the wrong way.

But Pirates dug deep and found a somewhat fortuitous goal of their own. Lorch appeared to attempt to slip a pass towards the edge of the six-yard box, which eluded everybody, including keeper Akbi.