Bacela brace seals it for Bucs
Lennox Bacela (Gallo Images)
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Mbombela - Lennox Bacela stole the show as Orlando Pirates became the final team to progress into the quarterfinals of the Telkom Knockout with their 3-1 win over Mpumalanga Black Aces at the Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Aces’ valiant display wasn’t enough to see them grind out a result on the day as Pirates deservingly meet Golden Arrows in the next round of the competition.
The hosts showed early signs that they came into the game ready to show their stuff, but a quick one-two counter attack between Oupa Manyisa and Daine Klate saw the Bucs threaten with just two minutes on the clock.
Mabhuti Khenyeza responded with two threatening plays minutes later when he nearly turned in his header off a corner-kick at the near post, before firing a bullet from range which skipped wide of Senzo Meyiwa’s goal.
It was end-to-end stuff on the park and both the teams continued to prove dangerous on the break with some exciting goalmouth action unraveling in a matter of just three minutes.
In the 14th minute Lennox Bacela tested Bafana Nhlapo with a powerful low drive which the goalkeeper did well to push out for a corner, before Thabo Qalinge nearly stole the match-opener with his ferocious shot which rattled the crossbar just a minute later.
At the other end of the park, Nhlapo pulled off another miraculous save to deny Klate at the near post, when he did well to twist his body and curl the aerial ball off the line.
Then in the 24th minute Khenyeza beat Siyabonga Sangweni for the ball before rushing into the box and towards goal.
The striker was, however, stopped in his tracks as Thabo Matlaba made a crucial interception to snatch the ball at his feet.
Unfortunately for the Bucs skipper he had to be stretchered off and replaced by Ayanda Gcaba for what was later confirmed as a snapped Achilles tendon.
The injury didn’t seem to affect Pirates as they soon opened their account on the stroke of the half hour. Bacela turned the ball into the back of the net with a glancing header at the near post thanks to Happy Jele’s brilliantly worked cross near the corner flag, 1-0.
Klate, who scored off a set piece in the first-leg of the MTN8 semi-final against Kaizer Chiefs, nearly made it 2-0 with a stunning free-kick which whiskered just wide of the far post.
Eduardo Ferreira was the next player to be substituted through injury as he was replaced by Thabang Rooi with just four minutes to go to the break.
But that wasn’t the last action of the half as Khenyeza had the last laugh when he tapped home Qaglinge’s cross in the fourth minute of extra time to head into the break at 1-1.
At the restart, Bucs started their dominance early and Thabo Matlaba really should have scored Pirates’ second goal when he beat his man in the 58th minute before directing his effort disappointingly wide with an open target at his mercy.
Roger de Sa’s men continued to push for the advantage when Tlou Segolela was denied by the woodwork in the 68th minute with his volley at the near post.
Aces did well to absorb the pressure, but as the game looked destined for extra time, Segolela supplied a ball to Bacela in the box and he made no error in slicing a low shot to make it 2-1 with five minutes to play.
Manyisa put the final nail in the coffin when he calmly beat Nhlapo with literally the final touch of the game when he found a good angle to hit a hard and low shot into the back of the net in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Scorers:
(1) 1 (Khenyeza 45+4’)Orlando Pirates:
(1) 3 (Bacela 30’+ 85’, Manyisa 95’)Teams:
Nhlapo, Mabaso, Ferreira (Rooi 41’), Borman, Nato, Zwane, Ngobeni, Ngalo, Qalinge (Tukane 58’), Okonkwo (Mayambela 73’), KhenyezaOrlando Pirates:
Meyiwa, Jele, Mahamutsa, Sangweni (Gcaba 27’), Matlaba, Segolela (Masalesa 88’), Jali, Manyisa, Ntshumayelo (Makola 47’), Bacela, Klate