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De Sa lauds his team's performance

Pirates played to a 1-1 draw against Al Ahly in the first leg of the CAF Champions League final.

Orlando Pirate's Thabo Matlaba escapes with the ball during CAF Champions League first leg final between Orlando Pirates and Al-Ahly in Soweto on 2 November, 2013. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Orlando Pirates coach Roger De Sa has praised his team for sticking to their game plan after drawing 1-1 against Al Ahly.

The two sides played in the first leg of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League final at Orlando Stadium last night.

The Buccaneers conceded first in the 13th minute when Mohamed Aboutrika scored a free kick but they equalised in the dying minutes when Thabo Matlaba scored.

The coach has praised his side for not losing shape despite initially lagging behind.

"Throughout the 90 minutes we kept on trying, we tried to be patient and build up the way we know how to. We didn't just kick the long balls -it was good that we didn't lose our heads."

The goal for Al Ahly means that Pirates must now score at least one goal in Egypt to win the competition.

The second leg will be played on 10 November and despite the hostile atmosphere that will greet the team in Cairo, De Sa is confident that his team can perform.

"We still have a fighting chance going to Egypt. We showed much needed character tonight and we believe we can turn things around in Egypt. It's going to be very difficult there's no doubt about it, but we'll go there to win and we have the character to turn it around."

De Sa says the side will be going all-out attack for the second leg because they don't know any other way to play.

"We are not a team that just sits at the back. We play very offensively and are trying to get our attacking midfielders to join the attack and be offensive and use our wingers as wingers not wide midfielders. We try to play attacking football because that's the way we know how to play."

Daine Klate believes that taking a goal with them to Cairo gives the Egyptians something to think about with regards to how they plan for the game.

"The goal is something we can take to Cairo. Obviously we didn't want to concede, we would have been happier if it was a goalless draw. But the draw means we are still in the game. Al Ahly must decide what they are going to do there, whether they are going to come out and play or they are going to sit back and allow us to play like we did here and create chances."