Orlando Pirates bomb out of Caf Champions League
Pirates make the scoring chances but pay for failing to put Guineans away
Orlando Pirates' 2018-19 campaign in the Caf Champions League came to a brutal end in Conakry, Guinea, yesterday when they suffered a 2-1 loss to Horoya AC.
Horoya progressed to the quarterfinals alongside reigning champions and Group B winners Esperance of Tunisia, who beat FC Platinum of Zimbabwe 2-1 in Harare yesterday.
Bucs succumbed to Abdoulaye Camara's 56th-minute long-range screamer and Boniface Haba's tap-in in an encounter in which they had all the chances to win, especially in the first half.
Justine Shonga's 90th-minute consolation goal came way too late to make any difference and the loss means Bucs must now put all their efforts into fighting for the Absa Premiership title this season if they are to end their trophy drought.
Bucs last won a trophy in 2014 but having won the Champions League in 1995 and lost to Al Ahly of Egypt in the 2013 final, there was some hope they could pull off a great result against Horoya, who came to yesterday's match with an impressive 20-match-unbeaten run at home.
If Bucs win the league title or finish as runners-up they will be back in the Champions League in August for another attempt to put a second star on top of their badge.
As expected, the game was wide open in the first 45 minutes as Horoya, who needed a draw to make it to the last eight for the second time in a row, played their usual attacking game and tried to create chances as early as the first minute when Ocansey Mandela's shot came off the upright after beating Wayne Sandilands in Bucs' goals.
Mandela was in the picture again in the final minute of the first half. This time his fierce shot from just outside the area was brilliantly kept out by Sandilands.
Pirates, though, dominated possession and play in the early exchanges of the game.
Had it not been for the poor officiating of Ethiopian referee Tessema Weyesa, the Buccaneers could have earned a penalty in the seventh minute when striker Thamsanqa Gabuza was brought down inside the area, only for Weyesa to wave play on.
There was no one to blame though when Luvuyo Memela and Gabuza wasted glorious opportunities to put Bucs in the lead in the 31st and 35th minutes respectively, both inexplicably shooting over the bar when put through and left with only Horoya keeper Khadim N'Diaye to beat.
Bucs coach Milutin Sredojevic was forced to introduce striker Augustine Mulenga midway through the first stanza when midfielder Xola Mlambo came off injured as the game got to the boiling point.
Mulenga's introduction was a blessing in disguise for Bucs as it helped them to stretch the home side more.
Horoya and Esperance joined TP Mazembe (DRC), CS Constantine (Algeria), Al Ahly (Egypt), Simba SC (Tanzania) and Mamelodi Sundowns who finished as runners-up in Group A despite losing 1-0 away to the 2017 winners Wydad Casablanca in Morocco. Wydad qualified as Group A winners.
The draw for the last eight of this season's edition will be conducted in Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday with the first leg set for April 26.
Orlando Pirates(0) 1
GOALS: Horoya - Abdoulaye Camara (56m), Boniface Haba (72m); Pirates - Justin Shonga (90m)