Chiefs lift Charity Cup

It was no epic but Kaizer Chiefs supporters will not mind after their side drew first blood against arch enemies Orlando Pirates to lift the Telkom Charity Cup for the 11th time, defeating holders Bucs 4-3 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out after the teams
were level 1-1 in their final played at Soccer City on Saturday night.

Bucs had hoped to win the trophy a third time but in the end fell short.

The two Soweto Premier Soccer League giants looked rusty after the long lay-off for the Soccer World Cup finals in June and July.

The teams were introduced to the guest of honour President Jacob Zuma before the kick-off.

The teams tried to live up to the occasion in a first half in which both sides showed a willingness to attack. But after an entertaining 20 minutes the teams seemed to run out of ideas and steam. The fact that this was the opening day of the new PSL season and the second game of the day took its toll on some of the players.

Chiefs looked fresher because their coach Vladimir Vermezovic fielded a completely new starting line-up from the one that defeated Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 in the earlier semifinal.

Bucs coach Ruud opted to field five of the players that defeated AmaZulu 1-0 in their earlier semifinal and by halftime the Bucs players were looking tired.

Chiefs showed that they meant business when they took the early initiative. Lucky Khune, the brother of Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng had a shot blocked after he latched on to a pin-point cross from Siphiwe Tshabalala in the third minute.

Then a minute later Amakhosi’s new signing Sthembiso Ngcobo, who scored the only goal in the semifinal win over Sundowns, sent a screamer centimetres over the Bucs crossbar.

But the Buccaneers fired back when Ndumiso Mabena hit an 18-metre rocket over the Chiefs crossbar in the seventh minute.

Chiefs hit the jackpot when Khune latched on to to a delightful through ball from Tshabalala and blasted home an unstoppable shot giving Bucs keeper Moeneeb Josephs no chance, to make it 1-0 after 13 minutes.

At the other end goalkeeper Khune did well to palm away a stunning drive from Pirates’ new signing from Bloemfontein Celtic, Mark Mayambela, whose shot from the edge of the penalty area had goal written all over it.

Bucs pushed hard for the equaliser and another new recruit from Celtic, Patrick Malokase, headed wide from close range on 23 minutes.

Chiefs however always looked the more dangerous side and deserved to lead their arch rivals by the solitary goal at the interval.

Bucs got their second wind after the break and were level when their skipper Lucky Lekgwathi headed home the equaliser in the 55th minute.

That brought the Pirates fans in the near capacity crowd to life. A great save a minute later from Josephs denied the livewire Amakhosi star winger Tshabalala a goal. Josephs did superbly to stop his Bafana Bafana teammate from making it 2-1 and keeping this cup final on a knife’s edge.

Referee Daniel Bennett booked Pirates Ndumiso Mabena for “simulation” or diving, inside the Chiefs penalty area in the 69th minute.

Mabena, realising he was being cautioned, then turned in an Oscar-winning performance by feigning injury. But Bennett had no sympathy and booked the Pirates striker who then got off the ground, showing little effects of his “injury”.

Tshabalala then fired a mean 19-metre free kick centimetres over the Buccaneers crossbar as Chiefs upped the ante.

At the other end Chiefs veteran keeper Arthur Bartman pulled off a breathtaking save from a 20 metre bullet from substitute Tlou Segolela in he 76th minute.

But with the players feeling the pressure, the match fizzled out in the last 10 minutes and then the game went to the dreaded penalty shoot-out lottery. – Sapa

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