Bucs sink Chiefs and head for MTN8 final

Orlando Pirates are one match away from ending their 10-year drought in a cup competition after they defeated arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 in a nail-biting MTN8 semifinal second leg played at the FNB Stadium on Sunday to win the tie 2-1 on aggregate.

The first leg ended 1-1.

A goal eight minutes from time by super sub Katlego Mashego — who made a welcome return to action after a long lay-off due to injury — was enough to send Bucs into the final against Moroka Swallows at Durban’s Moses Mabhida Stadium next Saturday night.

Pirates could even afford to miss a late penalty. There was no Teko Modise on the Pirates team sheet. The Bucs midfielder, once the hero of the fans, has taken a lot of stick from the supporters that used to hero worship him. He was booed in the first leg by his own fans and his confidence has taken a big knock.

But what must be even more worrying for the Pirates’ management was the fact that Chiefs fans outnumbered them. There were a lot of empty seats in the Pirates sections of the stadium while the Chiefs sections were full.

The official attendance was 69 760.

The cup-tie got off to a blistering start with both teams going for the early goal. It was a fast-paced first 45 minutes.

Bucs midfielder Andile Jali wasted a chance to score an early goal in the third minute when he managed to bring down the ball inside the Chiefs six-yard area and with the goal at his mercy he failed to control the ball.

Two minutes later Pirates defender Happy Jele did well to head a dangerous cross from Siphiwe Tshabalala for a corner.

Jele then went on the attack and shaved the upright with a 25-metre screamer in the seventh minute. Bucs’ new Nigerian striker Ezenwa Otorugu inched a shot wide of the post in the 12th minute. Then two minutes later Amakhosi midfielder Reneilwe Letsholonyane shot wide from long range. Bucs talisman Isaac Chansa forced Chiefs keeper Itumeleng Khune to save his volley from the edge of the area after he was set up with a delightful cross from Otorugu in the 20th minute.

Then it was Bucs in-form keeper Moeneeb Josephs turn to block a blistering shot from Tshabalala in the 24th minute.

The miss of the half fell to Pirates winger Dikgang Mabalane, who got stage fright in the 33rd minute when he passed the ball back to three Chiefs defenders, when he was inside the six-yard area and should have gone for goal.

Khune came to the rescue in the 41st minute when the agile Chiefs and Bafana Bafana number one took no chances by fisting a Mabalane free kick out of danger in the 41st minute.

The Buccaneers had a narrow escape in the 51st minute due to a misunderstanding between captain Lucky Lekgwathi and Josephs who both went for a long range ball and missed it. Chiefs’ striker Knowledge Musona was also chasing the ball and was first to the ball but he clipped his shot wide of an empty goal.

The action continued in the second half and Pirates had another lucky break in the 57th minute when Amakhosi midfielder Mthokozisi Yende blasted his shot from close range off the crossbar.

Pirates hit back with two chances in the 59th and 60th minutes when Otorugu and Thulasizwe Mbuyane missed chances to break the deadlock.

The Buccaneers urged on by their under pressure coach Ruud Krol, threw everything at Chiefs searching for that illusive goal.

Substitute Tlou Segolela sent in a defence-splitting cross in the 74th minute but with the open goal gaping at him, Mbuyane missed the ball.

Musona missed a sitter when he edged his close-range shot wide in the 78th minute when he was in a good scoring position. Then Chiefs substitute Sthembiso Ngcobo fired wide in the 80th minute.

The long-suffering Bucs fans were on their feet when Mashego edged in a Mbuyane cross in the 82nd minute for the all-important winner.

It should have been all over when Pirates won a penalty in the 86th minute when Valery Nahayo pulled down Segolela inside his penalty era and referee Jerome Damon had no option but to award a penalty. But Pirates defender Rooi Mahamutsa delivered one of the worst penalties seen for a long time when he blasted the spot kick well over the crossbar. The miss meant that Krol and his bench and the fans had to endure an agonising last four minutes as well as another four extra minutes of the referee’s optional time. – Sapa

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