Pirates reach Nedbank Cup final

2016-05-14 17:14
Brighton Mhlongo (Supplied)
Brighton Mhlongo (Supplied)

Cape Town - Orlando Pirates have booked a place in the final of the 2016 Nedbank Cup after defeating Free State Stars 4-2 at Goble Park on Saturday afternoon.

Luvoyo Memela scored two goals and created another to inspire the Buccaneers to a deserved victory - though the scoreline perhaps flattered them given the chances a plucky Ea Lla Koto enjoyed in the match.

Pirates established a 2-0 lead in a first half which was a fast-paced and entertaining affair in the cool and slick conditions in Bethlehem. The visitors opened the scoring 24 minutes in when Lucky Mohomi scored an unfortunate own goal from Luvoyo Memela’s free kick.

Fourteen minutes later Memela himself found the back of the net to double the lead, taking advantage of a lucky bounce before firing a right-footed shot which arguably should have been saved by Stars goalkeeper Johnny Mathole.

Pirates dominated the first stanza and were worthy of their lead, but Ea Lla Koto did have chances of their own: Brighton Mhlongo had to come up with two good saves in the 18th and 29th minutes to keep out efforts from Mohomi and Danny Venter respectively.

Stars started the second half strongly and almost pulled a goal back on 53 minutes through Mohomi, who was unlucky to see his grasscutter shot rebound off the inside of the upright after having the beating of Mhlongo.

Just two minutes later Ea Lla Koto finally got the goal their attacking efforts deserved: with Pirates unable to clear from a free-kick, Ayanda Nkosi fired home in a crowded box from close range to make it 2-1.

The Free State side was the dominant force in the second half, forcing the Buccaneers to retreat further and further in defence as the match wore on, but the away side did put together some good attacks on the counter, most notably when Mpho Makola almost killed the game off in the 84th minute, but his rifled shot rebounded off the post.

A minute later Memela capped his fine performance with a second goal to finally end Stars’ hopes. A messy build-up saw Memela show his class and composure to simply pass the ball into the net to make it 3-1.

Further pain arrived for Stars in the final minute of regulation time when substitute Thamsanqa Gabuza took advantage of a rebound off Mathole to fire home his side’s fourth - before childishly goading his own supporters.

The best goal of the game was left for last, with Mohomi firing home a stunning shot from a free kick to make it 4-2 in the second minute of injury time, though it proved to be nothing more than a consolation for the downtrodden hosts.

The final will be played on May 28 at Peter Mokaba Stadium. Pirates will face either SuperSport United or Baroka FC, who meet in the second semifinal later this evening.

Read more on:    orlando pirates  |  nedbank cup  |  soccer

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