A man-of-the-match performance by Katlego Mashego paved the way for Orlando Pirates to go into the next round of the Nedbank Cup at the expense of SuperSport United whom they beat 2-0.
Mashego bewildered two defenders to score in the 41st minute and then, in the 67th minute, his simple touch gave Teko Modise the room to strike home in front of 30 000 supporters at Ellis Park on Saturday night.
SuperSport wingers Daine Klate and Elias Pelembe used their menacing pace against Lehlohonolo Seema while Pirates’ Mashego and Modise used their guile to test Bongani Khumalo’s rearguard.
Quick passes and sprints into space were on order as Pelembe dashed forward on the right but just could not put in a telling cross. The same applied to Mashego as keeper Denis Onyango collected his square passes.
Former Pirates striker Fikru Lemasse found space on the edge of the area and tested Moeneeb Josephs with a rasping drive which the keeper punched back into play. Pelembe latched on to the loose ball and headed it over the keeper against the crossbar and a collective sigh of relief was heard across the stands.
SuperSport, who have a knack for scoring from set-pieces, had two chances but were off target as Pirates regrouped and launched their attacks late in the half. Mashego, free on the edge of the big box, shot straight at Onyango with the goal open.
Coach Gavin Hunt was forced to make a first-half substitution as Hlompo Kekana limped off and Shane Poggenpoel made his way on to the field, forcing Lance Davids to right-back.
As United looked to find their feet their former star Mashego plotted their defeat. Benson Mhlongo found him with a man on his back but with a superb turn, burst of speed and the strength to ward off two defenders, he fired in low and hard to the delight of the ”Ghost”.
With four minutes to go there was no way past the Bucs rearguard and Pirates were 45 minutes away from breaking the Matsatsantsa jinx.
Poggenpoel made his presence felt with a crunching tackle on Mashego early on in the second stanza as United imposed in midfield. Modise looked likely to beat Bafana teammate Davids with pace and did so, but the playmaker went down too easily from a slight touch looking for a free kick and was lucky not to get a caution.
Hunt surprisingly replaced Klate with on-loan Bucs forward Excellent Walaza just after the hour mark.
At the other end new Pirates striker Mashego combined superbly with Modise who cut in from the left, played a quick one-two and blasted the ball past Onyango from the edge of the area.
SuperSport pressed forward but the noise of the crowd seemed to drown out their intent while the Bucs surged forward with roars of jubilation.
Poggenpoel was lucky not to concede a penalty when he pushed Modise, whose pace was proving to be too much for Matsatsantsa, in the box. A SuperSport beating loomed as the Pirates number 11 was given acres of space to shoot but Onyango just got his fist to it.
Pelembe continued to probe down the left, beat Seema on one occasion and swung in an inviting cross which everyone in the box missed. – Sapa