Lorch inspires Pirates to MTN8 title

Lorch inspires Pirates to MTN8 title
/Orlando Pirates winners of the 2020 MTN8 final match between Bloemfontein Celtic and Orlando Pirates at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban, on 12 December 2020 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Bertin Basson

Saturday Dec 12, 2020. 20:20

Orlando Pirates ended a six-year trophy drought with a 2-1 win over 10-man Bloemfontein Celtic in the 2020 MTN8 final at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday evening.

Celtic, who had Ronald Pfumbidzai sent off in the 50th minute, opened the scoring through Siphelele Luthuli but goals from Deon Hotto and Thembinkosi Lorch steered the Buccaneers to victory.

Lorch, who was a serious injury doubt for the clash, rose off the bench in the 24th minute in place of Thabang Monare who had to be stretched off following a clash with Celtic’s Tebogo Potsane.

Siwelele had the ball in the back of the net in the third minute. Ndumiso Mabena’s powerful free-kick forced Richard Ofori into a good save and from the resulting corner-kick Celtic found the opener. Mzwanele Mahashe’s header picked out an unmarked Luthuli after Pirates had failed to clear their lines and the midfielder, who had lost his marker, directed an acrobatic effort into the back of the net from close range.

This only seemed to fuel Pirates who have made a habit of coming from behind in recent weeks and in the 32nd minute the Soweto giants pulled level. Celtic too missed an opportunity to clear their lines allowing Hotto to pounce on the loose ball and the Namibian winger kept his cool, to finish past Jackson Mabokgwane.

Pirates took further confidence from the equaliser and came close to taking the lead in the 43rd minute. Fortune Makaringe played a clever ball in behind the Celtic defence and found Zakhele Lepasa who’s deft touch whistled narrowly wide of goal.

The Buccaneers were afforded a golden opportunity to pull ahead five minutes after the interval after Pfumbidzai received his marching orders for a foul on Lorch, who had raced in behind the Cetlic defence. Lorch, who had to wait close to three minutes to take the resulting penalty, kept his cool and thumped his right-footed attempt into the top corner of the net.

Mabokgwane kept Celtic in the game with a stunning save in the 79th minute. Eye-catching interplay between Lorch and Vincet Pule allowed the latter a shot at goal, but the Phunya Sele Sele goalkeeper was up to the task.

Celtic did all the attacking in the final minutes of regulation time and five ensuing minutes of additional time, but the Pirates defence stood firm as the Free State club succumbed to defeat for the second final in succession.

Bloemfontein Celtic (1) 1 (Luthuli 3′)

Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Hotto 32′ Lorch pen. 53′)

Bloemfontein Celtic: Mabokgwane; Ngobeni (Sera 80′), Pfumbidzai, Mahashe, Baloyi, Phalane (Lingwati 56′), Luthuli, Masuku, Potsane, Letsoalo, Mabena.

Orlando Pirates: Ofori; Maela, Hlatshwayo, Nyauza, Jooste, Motshwari, Monare (Lorch 24′) [Ndlovu 87′], Makaringe, Hotto, Pule, Lepasa (Mabasa 90+4′).

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