Bucs dumped out of the Champions League

A thrilling penalty shootout marked the dramatic end of Orlando Pirates’ journey in the CAF Champions League, following their hard-fought 1-0 victory against Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy at Orlando Stadium on Friday night, which temporarily levelled their Second Preliminary Round tie.

After conceding an initial 1-0 deficit during their trip to Gaborone, the Soweto Giants were determined to secure advancement to the competition’s group stage.

The Buccaneers pressed forward, with Paseka Mako’s shot on target the first real test for Jwaneng Galaxy’s Goitseone Phoko, though it was comfortably handled.

Zakhele Lepasa had a promising chance when he headed Patrick Maswanganyi’s cross towards goal, but it went straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.

Midfielder Thabang Monare tried his luck from outside the box, but Phoko denied him as well. The first half saw Orlando Pirates’ defenders, Tapelo Xoki and Nkosinathi Sibisi, even joining the attack, but they couldn’t find the back of the net.

Maswanganyi’s late effort from a tight angle also met Phoko’s resistance. The second half began much like the first, with the Buccaneers unable to break through Jwaneng’s defense.

It took until after the hour mark for a breakthrough when substitute Evidence Makgopa’s deflected shot found the net.

Jwaneng had a rare chance in the 72nd minute through Wendell Rudath, but his shot missed the target. Despite Pirates’ efforts to regain control, they couldn’t find the elusive second goal.

Their closest opportunity came 23 minutes from the final whistle when Kermit Erasmus struck the woodwork with a powerful shot. Makgopa and Hotto attempted to secure the victory, but neither could find the target.

The match eventually ended in a penalty shootout. Hotto and Rubath made their spot-kicks, leveling it at 1-1. Sibisi and Xoki followed with successful penalties, while Sesinyi and Masuku ensured the visitors were still level after three penalties each.

Pirates’ teenage midfielder missed the fourth penalty, and although Maswanganyi converted his, it wasn’t enough to pull the Soweto Giants back into the contest. The visitors had a perfect conversion rate and secured their spot among the final 16 teams in the competition.

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