Pressure is on Pirates, Leopards stalk Motor Action

DESPITE being faced with near-impossible missions in Angola and Zimbabwe, Orlando Pirates and Black Leopards are adamant they will reach the next round of their continental club competitions.

Pirates take on Angolan giants Recreativo do Libolo in an African Champions League preliminary round return match in Calulo in Kwanza Sul province at 4pm tomorrow.

Pressure is on Pirates after going down 3-1 to Recreativo, a club that has players from Brazil and Portugal, in Port Elizabeth two weeks ago.

At the same time, Leopards take a short trip to Zimbabwe to meet Motor Action in a Confederation Cup return match at Rufaro Stadium in Harare on Sunday at 3pm.

The two clubs played to a 1-1 draw, with the Zimbabweans equalising through a controversial penalty in the last minute of the first leg a fortnight ago.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday from Calulo, Pirates assistant coach Teboho "Tebza" Moloi said they were geared up for a tough match from Recreativo.

"I have never seen the spirit so high in the camp, the players have pledged to end Libolo's campaign in this tournament in their own back yard tomorrow.

"Many people have written us off, (but) we are going to surprise them because we only have ourselves to blame for the defeat in Port Elizabeth.

"The plan is to attack Libolo from the first whistle, we want to win with an avalanche of goals," said Moloi, who was part of the Pirates squad that won the 1995 Champions League title.

Pirates chairman Irvin "Iron Duke" Khoza has given a mandate to coach Julio Leal to win the Champions League and add a second gold star on their jerseys as part of the club's 75th anniversary celebrations.

Pirates have taken their tried and tested players to Angola, including Benson Mhlongo, Benni McCarthy, Oupa Manyisa, Lucky Lekgwathi and Andile Jali.

At Leopards, club chairman David Thidiela said: "We are going to Zimbabwe to finish off Motor Action in their own back yard, we have done our home-work. Leopards will be in the first round proper by 5pm on Sunday. Motor Action have reached the end of the road."

Lidoda Duvha will pin their hopes of the likes of Rodney Ramagalela, Thabo Mongalo and Raymond Monama.

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