Last week’s first leg affair in Soweto resulted in a 1-1 draw, Thamsanqa Gabuza’s sensational early strike being cancelled out by Ammar Jemal’s 87th minute equaliser.
Pirates must score
A 0-0 draw will see the Tunisians lifting the trophy. A 1-1 draw will mean the game will go to extra time. A 1-0 win (or any victory) for Pirates will enable them to lift the trophy.
Inspiration from 1995
When Orlando Pirates won the CAF Champions League back in 1995 (the only time a South African club has won the competition), they also had to come back from conceding at home in the first leg, which ended in a 2-2 home draw against powerhouses ASEC Mimosa. The Buccaneers went on to shock the Ivory Coast club with a 1-0 win in their back-yard, thanks in no small part to the heroics of goal-scorer Jerry Sikhosana.
Tough conditions in North Africa
Its never easy for visiting teams in north Africa, be it the partisan home support, or the lasers which are shone in players’ eyes. This time though there is a far more serious concern hanging in the air, following recent terrorist attacks in the capital city, Tunis, which has made for a tense atmosphere across the region.
Midfielder Thandani Ntshumayelo is suspended and will miss the final.
For the home side, left-back Marouane Tej is back from suspension. Defender Ghazi Abderrazak is suspended. Nidhal Saied could return from long-term injury
What they are saying:
Head coach Eric Tinkler: “I have stated this in the press before, that we are a good team away from home. In every trip we have made we managed to score so we’re gonna go there and look for the goal. Can we do it? Yes we can, because we have the quality to do that. We have the belief, we have the faith, we know that we can score away from home. We have been in Tunisia, we played against CS Sfaxien, they are a good team as well, and we came back with a positive result.”
Thandani Ntshumayelo: “We play well away from home in Africa because when we leave, we leave as 25 South Africans going into the unknown. It keeps us close,” he told Lesedi FM.
Kermit Erasmus: “When you are on the field you are so focused that you don’t even take notice of what is happening outside the field, the supporters making a noise or the lasers, yet it might put you off now and then, but if you are fully focused it shouldn’t be a problem. I am sure once we lift the trophy, it will be quite scary scenes because we are in their backyard and celebrating there…it will be pretty epic, we are looking forward to it – making sure we disappoint their fans and making ours proud.”
Etoile du Sahel captain Ammar Jemal, after scoring late in in last week’s 1-1 draw at the Orlando Stadium:
“I think it’s the best goal in my life. It’s in the final, and it was very important, but we still have another game in Sousse. 1-1 is okay, but the final is not only played here in Johannesburg, we still have the game in Sousse and I think I will score another goal.”
Sahel coach Faouzi Benzerti: “Both Friday and Saturday’s sessions will be restricted to tactical work. The second leg is the real final.”