Orlando Pirates crash out of Confed Cup after hiding from Raja Casablanca
Orlando Pirates crashed out of the Caf Confederation Cup after they were given a masterclass in finishing by a clinical Raja Casablanca on Sunday afternoon.
A ruthless Raja beat the hapless Buccaneers 4-0 in the Confederation Cup quarterfinal second leg in Morocco to win the two-legged tie 5-1 on aggregate.
The two sides played to a 1-1 draw in the first outing in Johannesburg a week ago‚ but Raja abandoned that cautious approach in the return leg‚ making the Bucs walk the plank in merciless fashion.
The hosts got their name up on the stadium scoreboard very early in the first half after tricky Ben Malango headed in the opening strike of this encounter in the eighth minute.
The Congolese rose above everyone else on the pitch to punish the visitors with a powerful header.
It was clear Bucs goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands would have a very busy afternoon as he had to make a brilliant save from close range just moments after conceding the opening goal.
To their credit‚ Pirates tried to make a fight of it during that spell and had two quick chances through Innocent Maela and Deon Hotto‚ but they found the home goalkeeper Anas Zniti in an uncompromising mood.
The visitors always looked fragile in the back and Raja eventually found the opening they were looking for when midfielder Zakaria El Wardi beat Sandilands with a low shot from close range following a delivery from Soufiane Rahimi in the 20th minute.
The provider turned goal-scorer 10 minutes later when Rahimi scored the third of the afternoon for the home team in the 30th minute‚ with Malango actively involved in his team’s build-up.
Heads dropped visibly after Rahimi had chipped Sandilands to score the third strike as Pirates suddenly had a massive mountain to climb‚ given that they had conceded an away goal in the 1-1 draw in the first leg at Orlando Stadium a week ago.
The troublesome Malango returned to torment the visitors further when he chipped Sandilands for the fourth goal of the match in the 36th minute‚ effectively putting the game out of Pirates’ reach.
It was a difficult first half for the visitors and they will have been relieved when the referee signalled the half time break.
Pirates tried to reclaim some measure of pride in the second period‚ but Raja kept them at bay and prevented the visitors from scoring the away goal that would have ignited some flicker of hope in their ranks.
After a dramatic weekend of continental competition‚ Kaizer Chiefs are the nation's sole representatives after Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns crashed out in dramatic fashion.
Sundowns exited the Champions League after they were dumped out of the event by former coach Pitso Mosimane’s Al Ahly on Saturday.
The game was marked by controversy after a section of Sundowns fans verbally abused Mosimane outside the stadium gates‚ hurling profanities and displaying placards with insults directed at the coach and his family.