القراصنة ثلاثة أهداف، "الأهلي لا شيء
I am reliably informed the sentence above is Arabic for “Orlando Pirates three goals, El Ahly NONE.”
And really, despite a fascinating start to our own Professional Soccer League, that is THE story of the weekend. Egyptian giants El Ahly hadn’t failed to score a goal at home since 2004. But Roger de Sa’s continental crushers gave them the kind of beating we won’t forget for a long, long time.
An opening goal from Thandani Ntshumayelo after an astonishing interchange with Collins Mbesuma made it 1-0 after 18 minutes, then came an incredible THIRD successive African Champions League penalty save from Senzo Meyiwa from Waleed Soliman in the 38th minute.
Just before half-time, the Algerian referee sent off Ahmed Abdul Zaher for dissent as he howled about yet another crunching Pirates tackle – and El Ahly, the defending African champions and three-time winners, never really recovered.
The second half belonged to Andile Jali. First he converted a 73rd minute penalty after Fathy (pronounced Farty) had felled Daine Klate, then – two minutes later – the Bafana reject produced a delightful little scooped pass to put Sifiso Myeni away for the third goal.
And that was it. In front of a windy, empty stadium at El Gouna on the Red Sea coast, the Egyptians were simply flabbergasted by the Pirates defence – the ageless Lucky Lekgwathi (estimates put him at 37) saved one of the line and tackled with all the subtlety of a Pharoah’s tomb.
It was at half-time I sent the under-pressure Pirates coach De Sa my usual SMS. Ths one said: “YOU FYCKING BEAUTY! ROGER DE SA YOU ARE A LEGEND!” He replied with "Yeeeepeeee" (see screen grab of SMSes above).
After the match, Roger said: “Fantastic result but look, we’re not getting carried away, there’s still four games to go in the group.
“I’m very happy but now I have to make sure we stay grounded – and get positive results.”
So you can rave all you want about Kaizer Chiefs’ hard-earned 1-0 win over promoted Mpumalanga Black Aces on Friday night. Clive Barker’s Dogs weren’t a million miles from humbling Stuart Baxter’s double-winning Gods in the PSL’s opening salvo.
And we can praise Cavin Johnson’s SuperSport United – 4-1 winners over Steve Khompela’s Free State Stars on Saturday – or Pitso Mosimane’s Monyloadi Signdowns for their 3-1 at tricky Bloemfontein Celtic. Some might say both were aided by harsh red cards.
But nothing compares with Pirates’ epic victory in El-Gounah. They go top of Group A on goal difference from Congo champions AC Leopards, who saw off Zamalec 1-0 in Dolisie.
Egypt’s Red Devils’ hadn’t lost at home since Tunisia’s Etoile Sahel beat them 3-1 in Cairo to lift the Champions League trophy six years ago. The game was played in afternoon heat and a gusting wind – but nothing could stop De Sa’s Buccaneers.
That second star may not be as impossible as we once assumed. As I said on twitter, a 3-0 win in Egypt is like the Springboks triumping 60-0 in Wellington or the Proteas enjoying a six-wicket victory in Delhi. Unthinkable.
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