Bucs start Caf journey on back foot
Orlando Pirates kicked off their 2019-20 Caf Champions League campaign in the worst possible fashion after a 1-0 away defeat to little-known Zambian outfit Green Eagles in the first leg of a preliminary tie in Lusaka yesterday.
Spencer Sautu's solitary strike was enough to give Eagles a famous victory, with the attacking midfielder punishing the visitors after a quick counter in the 49th minute.
The Buccaneers faced similar circumstances in the first round of the competition last season when they were held to a goalless draw by Namibian minnows, African Stars, in Windhoek. Justin Shonga's solitary strike in the second leg in Orlando helped Milutin Sredojevic's side beat Stars in the second leg to make it to the group stages.
An even tougher challenge awaits Bucs this time around as they have to get two unchallenged goals in the return leg at home on August 23 to proceed to the first round.
Bucs started yesterday's encounter with a positive attitude, always looking to punish their hosts, who only made their continental debut in the Caf Confederation last season.
Sredojevic tweaked his team from the one that got their season to a flying start in a 3-1 league win against Bloemfontein Celtic last weekend, with experienced right-back Asavela Mbekile coming in for Thabiso Monyane.
Pirates were expected to go a step further in this edition of the competition in what could be the final season for Sredojevic if he fails to end a trophy drought that stretches back to May 2014 when they won the Nedbank Cup.
The winner of the Pirates/Eagles tie is likely to face top Angolan team Primeiro de Agosto in the first round as Premiero are expected to easily brush aside Zanzibar minnows KMKM SC in the preliminary round.
Premiero were semifinalists in the 2018 edition of the Champions league.
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