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Football | MTN8

Andile Jali and Mame Niang © Gallo Images

Pirates sink United on penalties



Orlando Pirates fought back twice to defeat SuperSport United 4-3 on penalties at the Mbombela Stadium to book their ticket to the semifinals of the MTN8 on Sunday afternoon.

Matsatsantsa took the lead twice in the respective first halves, which also saw an own goal by Thabo Matlaba, but a brace by Lennox Bacela meant the game ended 2-2 after 120 minutes.

The pressure was on Pirates coming into their game, after they fell to their first defeat at home to AmaZulu for the first time in 20 years on Thursday evening, while Cavin Johnson’s men were confident coming off their 4-1 victory over Free State Stars.

Roger de Sa’s men did come out with an air of positivity about them as they dominated the opening minutes of the game, while shots from Sifiso Myeni only ever so slightly tested Ronwen Williams in goal.

Then in the 10th minute, Mame Niang stole the ball cheekily off Rooi Mahamutsa’s feet. The Senegalese tried to lob the ball into the back of the net but he disappointingly fired wide.

Three minutes later and Pirates were lucky not to have a penalty decision go against them, after Lucky Lekgwathi handled the ball in the box.

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The hosts were then dealt an injury blow in the 20th minute when Collins Mbesuma was replaced by Lennox Bacela after sustaining an ankle injury. Thandani Ntshumayelo tried his luck from range, but it sailed wide of goal.

By the 26th minute, it should have been 1-0 to Pirates. The Bucs were dominating possession with a great passage of play which saw Andile Jali cross the ball to Daine Klate inside the box. The winger connected to it with a diving header, but it stung the upright.

But in a twisted bit of fate, it was SuperSport who grabbed the lead when Thabo Matlaba’s header off Thabo September’s cross hit the crossbar and fell into the back of the net. That goal coming on the stroke of the half hour.

Pirates were then awarded a free-kick in a promising position in the 40th minute, but Klate’s well taken set-piece was impressively cleared by Kurt Lentjies.

Rooi Mahamutsa nearly turned in the equaliser with a skillful back heel off a corner-kick eight minutes after the restart, before Kermit Erasmus was brought on against his former club.

Thuso Phala pulled the trigger with a long-range effort which was pushed out wide, while just 30 minutes after SuperSport’s goal Pirates made it 1-1.

Erasmus did most of the work with his tireless run into the box, which saw him pull the ball back to Bacela. The former Bloemfontein Celtic man made no error when slotting it past Williams.

Thuso Phala nearly made it 2-1 with his daisy-cutter in the 72nd minute. The ball took a wicked skip on the floor which forced Senzo Meyiwa into making a crucial save.

Neither side could break the deadlock by the end of the full 90, resulting in the game going to extra time.

There was an element of advantage for Pirates as both Fransman and Sibusiso Khumalo continued to play, despite being injured and all three substitutes having been used.

It took just three minutes before SuperSport defied the odds again and they made it 2-1 after the restart. This time it was through Mogogi Gabonamong as he slotted home Meyiwa’s save past Lekgwathi, who was standing on the line.

The game was forced into penalties after Bacela added his second goal of the afternoon with a neat tap-in off Thulasizwe Mbuyane’s cross in the 113th minute.

It turned from bad to worse for Cavin Johnson’s men three minutes later, when Sibusiso Khumalo was shown his second yellow of the match to be shown his marching orders.

The penalty shootout was eventually won 4-3 by Orlando Pirates, with Lekgwathi netting the decisive spot-kick.

Orlando Pirates: (0) 1 ET 2 (Bacela 61’, 113)
SuperSport United: (1) 1 ET 2 (Matlaba OG 31’, Gabonamong 93’)

Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele, Matlaba, Mahamutsa, Lekgwathi, Jali, Manyisa, Myeni (Erasmus 56’), Ntshumayelo, Klate (Mbuyane 82’), Mbesuma (Bacela 20’)

United: Williams, September, Diouf, Fransman, Khumalo, Gyimah, Doutie (Nkoana 30’), Phala, Mathebula (Gabonamong 64’), Lentjies (Maluleke 78’), Niang

Penalty shoot-out: Williams (missed), Jali (missed), Niang (goal), Erasmus (goal), Maluleke (goal), Mahamutsa (goal), September (missed), Bacela (goal), Fransman (goal), Lekgwathi (goal).



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