Orlando Pirates ended their 10-year knockout cup drought when they defeated Moroka Swallows 4-2 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out to lift the MTN8 trophy. Both sides were level 1-1 after extra time at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night.
Bucs made it difficult for themselves and should have sewn up the final in the first half. They missed gilt-edged chances and allowed the Birds back into the match with a late equaliser when right back Rooi Mahamutsa needlessly gave away a foul in the 86th minute. Morgan Shivambu scored and took the game into extra time.
Bucs earned a record R8-million. Swallows collect R800 000 along with the other seven teams in the competition.
Referee Faiek Daniels allowed Birds captain and star striker Siyabonga Nomvethe to play after inspecting his cast on his right hand. The former Bafana Bafana star injured his hand helping his club defeat Ajax Cape Town 3-2 in the second leg of the semifinals at the Dobsonville Stadium last weekend.
But there was still no place in the Pirates squad for out of favour Bafana midfielder Teko Modise. Bucs coach Ruud Krol — as expected — left out his former star player.
Bucs started like a house on fire, throwing everything at Swallows in an attempt to keep the Birds under pressure and force an early breakthrough. In fact, neither goalkeeper were tested in the opening 15 minutes.
Birds’ Aubrey Mathibe was lucky to stay on the pitch when he felled Bucs striker Ezenwa Otorugu as the big Nigerian striker was on his way to scoring inside his six yard area in the 17th minute.
Referee Daniels had no option but to award Bucs a penalty and then only booked the Birds goalkeeper for a foul.
Daine Klate stepped up and calmly slotted home the penalty to put Pirates 1-0 ahead.
After a quiet start, Josephs did well to fist a powerful shot from Morgan Shivambu over his crossbar after the Birds midfielder latched on to a pin point free kick from Keegan Ritchie in the 22nd minute.
The goal lifted the Buccaneers who then seized the initiative and took the game to the hapless Birds.
Bucs striker Thulasizwe Mbuyane should have made it 2-0 when he weaved through the Swallows defence only for Mathibe to palm his close shot around the post for a corner in the 27th minute.
Swallows had another narrow escape two minutes later when Dikgang Mabalane shot fractionally wide of the woodwork from 20 metres.
The Birds had another lucky escape in the 41st minute when the fired-up Klate rounded right-back Phaladi Kobola and then made it past the on-rushing Mathibe only to see his shot into the empty goal run agonisingly past the post.
Bucs kept pressing at the start of the second half. Mabalane wasted a chance to make it 2-0 when he was wide of the target in the 52nd minute.
Nomvethe made Josephs do some work when the Bucs keeper did well to block a well hit first time shot from the Birds skipper in the 56th minute.
Then Mbuyane was injured and had to be carried off the pitch. But the match officials seemed to take forever in allowing substitute Katlego Mashego to replace his injured teammate on 67 minutes.
Against the run of play Shivambu managed to nudge home a free kick four minutes from the end of regulation time from Gareth Ncaca after a foul from Mahamutsa was punished on the edge of the area to make it 1-1.
A minute later Mashego missed a sitter and the match went into extra time. – Sapa