Pirates move into Telkom Knockout final

Pirates move into Telkom Knockout final
Thembinkosi Lorch of Orlando Pirates celebrates goal during the 2018 Telkom Knockout semifinal match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban on 24 November 2018 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Saturday Nov 24, 2018. 17:21

Orlando Pirates have moved into the final of the 2018 Telkom Knockout after they defeated Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.

The Buccaneers scored a late winner through Justin Shonga to continue their recent dominance over the Amakhosi, and they will face either Baroka FC or Bidvest Wits in the final in Port Elizabeth in two weeks’ time.

Chiefs had the first sight of goal in the eighth minute, with Dumisani Zuma’s goal-bound chip turned away in unconvincing fashion by goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane.

Pirates then turned on the style to claim the lead on 13 minutes. Mabokgwane’s long clearance was missed by Mario Booysen, allowing Vincent Pule to sprint free down the right flank – he in turn played a superb low cross with the outside of his left foot which was turned home by Thembinkosi Lorch.

Yet the Buccaneers’ lead lasted just five minutes: a long pass into their penalty area was dealt with by neither Happy Jele nor his goalkeeper, allowing Leonardo Castro to sneak in between and touch the ball past Mabokgwane to make it 1-1.

After an open and expansive opening quarter, the match became much more cagey in the remainder of the first half. The Amakhosi enjoyed more of the ball, while Bucs looked livelier in attack, but the score remained level to the half-time break.

The team in black initially struggled to find their attacking rhythm in the second half, but they soon clicked through the gears and began to threaten Chiefs’ goal, with the spark coming around the hour mark when Pule showed great skill to open space in the penalty area and fire a ball across the face of goal which was narrowly missed by Justin Shonga.

Yet the Zambian would have a key role to play late in the game, as he put Pirates back in front in the 84th minute. A sustained attack ended with Augustin Mulenga crossing for Shonga, whose initial acrobatic attempt saw the ball smothered under his own feet – yet he recovered quickly, slipped past a challenge and found the back of the net with a low shot.

Chiefs had a great chance to level the game for a second time when a cross found the head of Castro just a couple of metres away from goal, but the usually reliable striker put his header over the crossbar.

Even further drama followed in the final seconds of injury time when a close-range header from Booysen was just about kept out by Mabokgwane, sending Pirates to a famous victory and a 50-50 chance of claiming the second piece of silverware on offer in the 2018/19 season.

Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1 (Castro 18’)
Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Lorch 13’, Shonga 84’)

Chiefs: Khune, Mphahlele, Booysen, Ngezana, Walusimbi, Katsande, Maluleka, Billiat, Manyama (Parker 68’), Zuma (Mahlasela 87’), Castro

Pirates: Mabokgwane, Munetsi, Jele, Maela, Mbekile, Nyatama, Mlambo, Pule (Makola 90+1’), Kutumela (Mulenga 68’), Lorch (Da Silva 90+4’), Shonga

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