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Erasmus hat-trick helps Pirates advance in Confederation Cup

A Kermit Erasmus hat-trick enabled South Africans Orlando Pirates to brush aside Gabonese Mounana 3-0 this weekend and reach the African Confederation Cup play-offs.

The 24-year-old striker, who spent two seasons with Dutch club Feyenoord, struck twice within five minutes during the first half.

And he completed his treble, a rare feat for South Africans in Caf competitions, 11 minutes after half-time at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

While the first goal on 24 minutes was a simple tap-in off a low cross, the second was superbly executed as he rounded goalkeeper Yves Bitseki and netted from an acute angle.

Erasmus went past Bitseki again to complete his hat-trick with a low shot and give the Buccaneers a 5-2 aggregate victory in the last-16 tie.

Tunisians Etoile du Sahel are also through to the play-offs which take place later in May against the African Champions League last-16 losers, including Egyptians Al Ahly and Moroccans Raja Casablanca.

But it was a struggle for the 2006 Confederation Cup title-holders as they overcame Tanzanians Young Africans 1-0 at Stade Olympique in Sousse.

Defender Ammar Jemal scored the lone second-leg goal on 25 minutes to give Etoile a 2-1 aggregate victory.

But the 10-man home side endured anxious second-half spells after Cameroonian midfielder Franck Kom was sent off for a second booking just before half-time.

Fellow Tunisians Club Africain and Nigerians Warri Wolves have also qualified for the play-offs.

Club Africain, who drew against ASO Chlef in Algeria in the first leg, won the return match 1-0 at Stade El Menzah.

Imed Meniaoui was a constant threat to the visitors and scored the match-winner two minutes before half-time in Tunis.

Warri Wolves made it through to the play-offs with a 1-0 win against MK Etancheite in the Democratic Republic of Congo to complete a 3-1 aggregate triumph in the last-16 tie.

The goal came on 72 minutes when Oghenekaro Etebo finished a sweeping movement. It was the fifth win in six Confederation Cup matches this season for unbeaten Warri.

Wolves eliminated Burkinabe Bobo and Ethiopians Dedebit in previous rounds and will feature in the play-offs for the first time after two second-round exits from the competition.

Another four second legs are scheduled for late Sunday.

AFP Swaziland police football team Royal Leopards go to the stadium where Muhammad Ali won the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, seeking to create Confederation Cup history.

Ali knocked out George Foreman 41 years ago during the eighth round of a world heavyweight title bout at Stade Tata Raphael in Democratic Republic of Congo capital Kinshasa.

And at the same 30,000-seat venue, Leopards defend a 1-0 first-leg lead over Congolese AS Vita Club, the hot favourites to win the last-16 tie.

No Swazi club has advanced beyond this stage of the second-tier African club competition.

Elsewhere, Ghanaians Hearts of Oak and Ivorians ASEC Mimosas are well placed having won first legs in Mali two weeks ago.

Hearts lead Djoliba 2-1 and ASEC lead Onze Createurs 1-0 and it would be a shock if either hosts failed to progress.

Egyptians Zamalek are in trouble having been held at 0-0 at home by Moroccans FUS Rabat in Cairo.

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