Pirates down Chiefs to advance
Tlou Segolela (Gallo Images)
Port Elizabeth - A Tlou Segolela goal was enough to see a repeat of the 2007 Vodacom Challenge final as Orlando Pirates, beat arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Thursday night.
The victory ensures that Pirates will once again square up against English Premiership side Tottenham Hotspur at Ellis Park in the decider on Saturday.
The teams were level at 0-0 at the half-time break.
The stadium came to life, with 43 000 fans (the second biggest crowd at the venue since the Currie Cup rugby promotional play-off between the PE-based Eastern Province Kings and the Mpumalanga Pumas) to witness the first match at the 45 000 seater venue since last year's FIFA World Cup.
The opening few minutes of the game saw both sides eager to attack, with end-to-end football, but they both failed to penetrate the opposing defence.
The first attempt at goal came in the sixth minute when Chiefs' new signing Lehlohonolo Majoro shot at goal, but saw his attempt missing the target by a mile.
Moments later, the Bucs received their first opportunity when Segolela was brought down by Amakhosi defender Dominic Isaacs 22m from the goal mouth. Daine Klate took the free-kick, and his attempt went narrowly over the crossbar.
Right on the 11th minute mark Amakhosi's Siphiwe Tshabalala fired in a cracking shot towards goal, but Bucs keeper Senzo Meyiwa was up to the challenge and pulled off a great save.
The stadium was on its feet in the 25th minute when Chiefs keeper Itumeleng Khune came to his side's rescue when Segolela let loose a goalbound shot from inside the area.
The last 10 minutes of the first half saw Amakhosi stepping up a gear and having the upper hand in the game, with Tshabalala the key player in the engine room.
Pirates looked to be having difficulty keeping up to the pace on the wings.
Majoro seems to be fitting in like a hand to a glove in the Chiefs setup, and his absence was felt in the second half after being substituted at the break.
Substitute Thulasizwe Mbuyane's first touch proved to bring in a touch of magic as his cross from the left corner found the feet of Segolela, who netted in from a tight angle to break the deadlock and put the Bucs in the lead in the 58th minute.
After the goal Pirates grew in confidence, and kept things tight at the back, making it difficult for Chiefs to break through.
Despite a gallant effort in the closing minutes of the game, it was not enough to get Amakhosi back into the game, and Pirates booked their place in the final for the fifth time in the competition's 11 years of existence.Teams:Pirates:
Meyiwa, Jele, Cloete, Sangweni, Lekgwathi, Jali, Manyisa, Segolela (Ngobeni '83), Klate (Mabalane '74), Mayambela (Mbuyane '58), Ndulula (Doutie '64).Chiefs:
Khune, Tau, Jambo (Ritchie '62), Sweswe (Mashamaite '62), Isaacs, Letsholonyane, Nengomasha, Tshabalala (Nale '46), Dladla (Masango '46), Musona, Majoro (Yende '46).