Full-back Ntsikelelo Nyauza scored with a powerful header as Orlando Pirates advanced to the CAF Confederation Cup quarter-finals with a 2-0 win against JS Saoura in Algeria on Sunday.
Nyauza scored on 48 minutes, and Kabelo Dlamini extended the advantage three minutes later at Algiers’ national stadium with a superb side-footed finish.
Even after the Pirates were down to 10 men 14 minutes from the time when Goodman Mosele was sent off after being yellow-carded twice, there was no way back for Saoura.
Mosele, a midfielder in South Africa’s team for a friendly against world champions France in Lille on March 29, should have been sent off earlier for deliberately kicking an opponent.
The tense matchday 5 Group B encounter threatened to spiral out of control multiple times, with both sides eager for all three points.
Before the final matches on April 3, Pirates have 12 points, Al Ittihad of Libya has 10, Saoura has seven, and Royal Leopard of Eswatini has none.
Leopard lead Ittihad 3-2 in Benghazi as Libyan international Sanad al Warfali scored his second goal of the game in the third minute of extra time.
If the Buccaneers defeat Ittihad in Soweto, Saoura will advance on head-to-head records by defeating Leopard, who play home games in South Africa since their stadium does not match international standards.
The champions and runners-up from each of the four groups go to the knockout stage of the African counterpart of the UEFA Europa League, which Morocco’s Raja Casablanca won last season.
On Sunday, Pirates became one of four teams to qualify, with Al Masry of Egypt, TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Al Ahly Tripoli of Libya also finishing in the top two of their groups.