Pirates down Maritzburg to reach semis

2015-10-24 17:26
Kermit Erasmus (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - A first half rocket by Kermit Erasmus and a penalty by Mpho Makola in the second stanza handed Orlando Pirates a 2-0 win over Maritzburg United in their Telkom Knockout quarter-final clash at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.

The match marked a perfect anniversary for former Buccaneers goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed a year ago in Vosloorus.

Although Pirates chased the game as they struggled to retain possession in the opening stages of the tie, the Team of Choice failed to produce good scoring opportunities despite not allowing the host time on the ball.

However, after 15 minutes of action the visitors nearly stunned the hosts when Ryan de Jongh delivered a great ball in search of debutant, Mphakamiseni Nene but Siyabonga Mpontshane was quick to read the situation and cleared the ball.

In the 21st minute, defender Ayanda Gcaba who scored a winner against university of Pretoria in the Last 16 came close to finding an opener when he rose above Maritzburg’s defence with a strong header, however, it went wide off Virgil Vries near post.

As the hosts regained their confidence, Kermit Erasmus showed his quality when he outran United’s defence and managed to squeeze in a powerful shot through Vries from a tight angle in the 25th minute following a sweet flick on by Thamsanqa Gabuza.

Three minutes later, Kurt Lentjies nearly responded with a goal when he tried to beat Siyabonga Sangweni twice before slipping up in the box trying to take a shot allowing Mpontshane to collect easily.

Towards the half-hour mark, Mpontshane was called into action once again when Kwanda Mngonyama Hartog nearly pounced behind Gabuza in the box but the keeper was equal to the task and made a great save.

After 34 minutes, Mngonyama was so close to finding an equaliser from a wonderful delivery down the left but his header went wide off the far post with Mpontshane merely becoming a spectator.

Erasmus became a headache for the visitors’ defence when he nearly netted a brace in the 39th minute after using his pace well but Maritzburg regrouped in the box to block his shot.

Just two minutes into the second stanza, Pirates were awarded a penalty when Paintsil committed a foul on Erasmus in the box and the referee pointed to the spot, Mpho Makola’s penalty was denied by Vries but the Bafana Bafana player netted in his second attempt.

In an interesting second stanza, the Team of Choice continued to dish out good football but lacked creativity to break the Bucs defence with Mpontshane coming out to make a save in the 58th minute.

With 25 minutes remaining, Clive Barker’s men received a free kick when Gcaba pushed substitute Sheldon van Wyk as the visitors but Mpontshane made a fantastic save.

Towards the 70th minute, Maritzburg tried to catch Pirates on a counter but Van Wyk wasted a great chance a few minutes later as he fell on the box looking for a penalty but it was denied by the official.

With six minutes to go, Lentjies managed to get behind the Pirates defence and managed to take a shot comfortably in the penalty area but he failed to beat Mpontshane and his shot went narrowly wide and that was the end of their TKO campaign.



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