Deon Hota (Twitter: @CAFCLCC)
Moroccan rule CAF Confederations Cup continued in Nigeria on Friday as RS Berkane to beat Orlando Pirates 5-4 on penalties after a draw 1-1 after extra time.
HOW IT WAS: Orlando Pirates – RS Berkan 1-1
Youssef el-Fahli scored his sixth goal in the second African competition for Berkan seven minutes into extra time from a penalty awarded after a referee considered a foul on a VAR monitor.
The Pirates equalized in the 117th minute when Tembinkosi Lorcha’s handy shot dodged everyone in the crowded goal to level the clubs.
Berkan scored from all five penalties in the series, and the decisive fifth was realized by Brahim el-Bahraoui, who came on as a substitute.
Moroccan clubs have won a record seven of 19 games, including four of the last five, where Raja Casablanca and Berkan are vying for two titles.
The Pirates wasted several chances to become the first South African Confederations Cup winners in the main time, and the main culprit was Deon Hotta.
Pirates coaches Fadlu Davids and Mandla Nchikazi made one change to the side, starting a shocking 1-0 defeat to Al Ahly Tripoli last Sunday in the second semi-final, which they won 2-1 overall.
Right-back Abel Mabaso came out, Bandile Shandu stepped away from the midfield to take his place, and Cabela Dlamini came in to increase the attacking pace.
Berkan demonstrated two changes from the team that won at home 4-1 against TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to close the deficit in the first match 1-0 in the second semi-final.
DR Congolese-born coach Florent Ibenge preferred Mehdi Ubile Hamza Regraga in midfield and chose Charki el-Bahri over Brahim el-Bahraui to lead the three-man line.
Both teams wore their traditional colors: Pirates in All Black and Berkan in Orange Shirts with Black Collars and White Shorts.
The Pirates lost a good chance to get ahead in four minutes when Namibian Hota found himself alone with goalkeeper Hamzai Hamiani Akbi, but punched the ball straight into the stopper.
Although he is a central defender, Pirates captain Happy Jelly knows how to score goals and was close to the goal when his head flew over the crossbar.
The South African club looked at more likely scorers, and Akbi had to go down quickly to fend off Shandu’s shot in the 34th minute of the first half.
Burkina Faso central defender Isufu Dayo, whose goal in the 2020 Confederations Cup final against the Egyptian team Pyramids, made an excellent selection to deprive Hott of the opportunity to score closer to the break.
Hotta was then disappointed with the free-kick outside the penalty area, sending the ball well above the bar when he was expected to at least check on Akby.
Berkan finally gave his job to Pirates goalkeeper Richard Ofora in added time in the first half when Yousef el Fahli struck such a hard blow that the messenger could not understand him, but the ball was cleared.
If the first half did not cause a stir for the predominantly Nigerian crowd, then the second half was stripped of goal and ended with a goalless final.
Announcing this week that the final will go immediately in a penalty shootout in the event of a draw after regular time, organizers on the eve of deciding the title said there would be extra time.