Orlando Pirates v Zamalek Preview

CAF Confederations Cup | Saturday 11th July | Mbombela Stadium | 15:00




Orlando Pirates have had no time to recoup in the off-season like other PSL clubs have, as they chase glory in the Caf Confederations Cup. The Buccaneers will host Egyptian giants Zamalek this weekend in what is their second group game following their victory over AC Leopards of Congo two weeks ago.



To Win (90mins)
Pirates 11/10
Draw 21/10
Zamalek 2/1

ORLANDO PIRATES


Orlando Pirates made a winning start to their Group B campaign in the CAF Confederations Cup as they ground out a 1-0 win away to AC Leopards in Dolisie. Happy Jele scored the only goal of the game just before the hour mark. The goal sparked a reaction from the hosts and Pirates were forced to sit back and defend for the rest of the match.

Some solid defensive work from Pirates ensured a clean sheet and vital three-point haul for the visitors. A capacity crowd and poor playing conditions welcomed Pirates, but that was something Eric Tinkler's men have come to expect in their ventures on the African continent in the past two years. The win extended Pirates excellent unbeaten record in this year’s Confed Cup, where they have now won five times and drawn twice.

The Sea Robbers will be looking to replicate their excellent home form that saw them win every home leg until they reached the group stage. They nipped a 2-1 win over Uganda Revenue Authority at home in the first round but then romped to 3-0 and 4-1 wins against Gabon’s CF Mounana and Guinea’s AS Kaloum respectively.

Predicted line-up: 
4-4-2 - Mhlongo; Jele, Mahamutsa, Sangweni, Matlaba; Myeni , Sarr, Manyisa, Rakhal; Bacela, Erasmus



ZAMALEK

Forgotten striker Abdoulaye Cisse scored his first goal in more than nine months to help Zamalek make a winning start to their Confederation Cup group stage campaign following a late 1-0 home win over Tunisia's Sfaxien on Saturday. With the final whistle quickly approaching, the Burkina Faso international was introduced in the 86th minute as Zamalek embraced an all-out attack in the latter stages, and just four minutes later he latched on to a low cross from versatile midfielder Omar Gaber to find an empty net and spark wild celebrations among the players and technical staff members.

It was the White Knights’ first win over the three-time Confederations Cup winners in 12 years, in which time they lost on four occasions and drew once. It was also Zamalek's first opening group-stage win in any African competition in 13 years as they moved level on three points with Pirates. Zamalek, five-time Champions League victors, are looking to carry their impressive domestic form into the continental stage, as they are eyeing a first ever crown in Africa’s second-tier club competition. They find themselves in the Confederations Cup after only placing third domestically last season. However, this season they find themselves six points clear of defending champions Al Ahly, with just five games remaining. Their last league title came back in the 2003/04 season.

Lying on top of arguably Africa’s strongest league will give them the much needed confidence for away travels such as these. They played three two legged ties to qualify for the group stages and managed two away wins and lost just once on the road. Their first away game was in Rwanda where they walloped Rayon Sports 3-0 and a 3-2 victory over Morocco’s Rabat followed before they were beaten 1-0 in DR Congo by Sanga Balende.

Betting Verdict: PIRATES 11/10
Zamalek had a league fixture on Monday night as they cope with the business end of their league. Pirates are well rested as they have been working soley for Caf competition. Some of the Zamalek players could be further fatigued here as the match will take place during their religious fasting period of Ramadan. These clubs are familiar with each other after also being drawn in the group stages of the 2013 Champions League together. Pirates won their home fixture 4-1 against Zamalek before losing 3-1 in Egypt. Back Pirates to build on their excellent home record in Africa this season and move three points clear of Group B with a win. 

Written by Wayde Dorkin for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!