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Favourable draws set up Orlando Pirates to reach CAF Cup final


Johannesburg (AFP) – South African club Orlando Pirates were given a good chance to reach a second CAF Confederation Cup final after being handed favourable quarter-finals and semi-finals draws in Cairo on Tuesday.

The Buccaneers face Tanzanian outfit Simba in the last-eight phase of the African equivalent of the UEFA Europa League with the first leg in Dar es Salaam on April 17.

Pirates, who lost 2-1 on aggregate to Tunisian team Etoile Sahel in the 2015 final, host the return match in Soweto the following weekend.

Simba also travelled to South Africa last season, and suffered a 4-0 hiding from Kaizer Chiefs in a CAF Champions League quarter-final.

The Tanzanian side staged a brave second-leg comeback to win 3-0, but finished overall losers as they seek to become the first team from the east African nation to win a CAF club competition. 

Should Pirates overcome Simba they will tackle a Libyan club, Al Ittihad or Tripoli neighbours Al Ahly, in the semi-finals during May, with the first match in the oil-rich north Africa nation.

Pirates lost 3-2 away and drew 0-0 at home against Ittihad in the group stage, but a team captained by veteran centre-back Happy Jele will be hopeful of reversing the results should they meet again.

Ahly Tripoli surprisingly won Group A, ahead of Egyptian big spenders Pyramids, and start as slight favourites to win the Libyan derby.

In the other half of the quarter-finals draw, Pyramids confront two-time Confederation Cup winners TP Mazembe from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Funded by Saudi and Emirati petro dollars, Pyramids are competing for a third consecutive season and finished runners-up and reached the semi-finals in previous attempts.

Mazembe have lost the now ageing stars who helped them win the Champions League three times during the past decade, but won Group C and remain particularly strong at home in the mining city of Lubumbashi.

Moroccan outfit Renaissance Berkane, the other former Confederation Cup title-holders in the field, travel to Egypt for the first leg of a quarter-final against Al Masry.

Draws

Quarter-finals

Simba (TAN) v Orlando Pirates (RSA)

Al Ittihad (LBA) v Al Ahly Tripoli (LBA)

Pyramids (EGY) v TP Mazembe (COD)

Al Masry (EGY) v Renaissance Berkane (MAR)

First legs: April 17; second legs: April 24

Semi-finals

Ittihad or Ahly v Simba or Pirates

Pyramids or Mazembe v Masry or Berkane

First legs: May 8; second legs: May 15

Note: Single-match final will be played between May 22 and 29 at a venue to be announced

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