Baroka in final after fairy-tale cup run

Baroka continued a fairy-tale second season by shocking league cup trophy-holders Wits 1-0 on Sunday to reach the final.

A third-tier club six years ago and promoted to the top division only last season, the Polokwane club won a home semi-final through an early Matome Mabeba goal.

The 28-year-old defender rifled an angled free-kick just outside the box past South Africa squad goalkeeper Darren Keet on eight minutes at Peter Mokaba Stadium.

Baroka, whose starting line-up comprised nine South Africans and two Zimbabweans, are coached by former Zambia coach and striker Wedson Nyirenda.

Before toppling Wits, they secured 2-0 home victories over Golden Arrows and 2016 African champions Mamelodi Sundowns to reach the League Cup semi-finals.

Baroka will face Orlando Pirates, another club who have been African champions, in the final on December 8 in Port Elizabeth.

“We knew Wits were dangerous at set-pieces and when they moved the ball wide and the boys managed those threats superbly,” said Nyirenda.

Wits coach Gavin Hunt lamented a blunt attack: “We had the best four chances yet ended goalless. Baroka never came out after taking the lead and we battled to break them down.”

On Saturday, Pirates extended to 11 matches an unbeaten run against arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs by winning the other semi-final 2-1 in Durban.

Thembinkosi Lorch gave the Buccaneers an early lead that was quickly cancelled by Colombian Leonardo Castro and Zambian Justin Shonga netted the 84th-minute winner.


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