Johannesburg - A Paulus Masehe headed goal in extra time thrust Free State Stars to a 2-1 victory over hosts Orlando Pirates in their Nedbank Cup last 16 match at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
Deep into extra time, in the 124th minute of the game, Pirates were guilty of poor marking in the box from a corner, and Masehe was gifted a free header and made no mistake as he won the match for the Free State side.
Stars had let a lead slip in regulation time, after they went ahead in the 70th minute through an Edward Manqele goal, only to see Daine Klate equalise with the last kick of normal time.
Pirates were complacent while they were level, and only once they went behind, on two occasions, did they look like scoring.
Before extra time, Benni McCarthy had little effect on the game, not from lack of execution, but from being starved of the ball as his team-mates struggled to produce decent balls into the area.
Facing an early exit competition, The Buccanneers went in desperate search of an equaliser in the last 10 minutes of the encounter.
Manqele opened the scoring in the 70th minute, after a period of domination from the home side. Stars launched a quick counter attack, releasing Manqele down the left until he was left with just Josephs to beat, and his lofted shot was deposited into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Stars.
Facing elimination, substitute Daine Klate took on the responsibility with what should have been the last kick of the game. Klate with an unstoppable free-kick, levelled the scores to send the game into extra time.
Earlier, in the eighth minute Dikgang Mbalaane had the first shot for Pirates just outside the box on the right, but couldn't keep the ball down.
A minute later, McCarthy with his first touch of the game, from about 35 metres out, went for the spectacular but launched his shot 25 rows back.
Oupa Manyisa called Stars captain, and keeper, into the game in the 11th minute. His shot from 25 metres was straight at the Stars gloveman, which he held onto comfortably.
Stars had their first attempt less than a minute later, but Moeneeb Josephs reacted well. Sadate Oura-Akoriko's shot from point blank range was well saved by the Pirates keeper.
On the quarter hour mark, McCarthy displayed good strength to poach the ball in the midfield, but his powerful shot was rifled into a Stars defender.
Twenty-three minutes in, and Manqele made his intentions clear for the visitors, as his shot from the edge of the area required a full-length dive from Josephs to keep the scores level.
Josephs made his only mistake in the 36th minute. He misjudged a speculative long range shot, and the ball dribbled out, but Stars were not able to make anything happen from the ensuing corner.