Cape Town - Thabo Qalinge scored the only goal as Orlando Pirates
reached the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals with a narrow 1-0 win over Golden
Arrows at the Princess Magogo Stadium in KwaMashu on Saturday.
The only goal came after 35 minutes when the ball was
uncomfortably lifted over the onrushing home goalkeeper Nkosingiphile Gumede.
Qalinge also hit the bar earlier, but his goal proved to be
the winner in an entertaining affair in Durban.
It was the hosts’ first loss in normal play during the
2017/18 – they were beaten on penalties by Bidvest Wits in the MTN8 – with the
result also ensuring that their wait for a cup win over the Soweto side
Arrows began brightly and Kudakwashe Mahachi had the first
opening in the third minute when the ball from the left was squared to him on
the edge of the box, but he ballooned over.
Pirates had their first chance in the 10th minute when a
cross from the right was headed back across the face of goal by Issa Sarr, with
Justin Shonga’s shot forcing Gumede into a sharp low save.
Thembinkosi Lorch’s driving run and shot then flew
tantalisingly wide as the visitors began to find their gear.
The Bucs came closest to breaking the deadlock after 15
minutes when Mpho Makola’s ambitious clipped pass down the middle was headed by
Qalinge onto the upright as Arrows were spared.
Another chance followed Qalinge midway through the half when
he headed over a floated ball from Thabiso Kutumela.
Arrows finally had a big moment on the half-hour as Zolani
Nkombelo crossed invitingly for Knox Mutizwa from the left, but the Zimbabwean
could only stab wide.
The Bucs then went ahead 10 minutes from the break as
Shonga’s ball through the middle was flicked on by Kutumela and Qalinge
uncomfortably lifted over the onrushing Gumede.
It was 1-0 at the break and after the restart, Lorch and
Qalinge both lost their footing at crucial times in the box as Pirates spurned
two big chances to pull further ahead.
There was another decent chance for Mutizwa in the 68th
minute, but he plated a Nduduzo Sibiya corner over the bar.
Arrows had their moment to equalise in the 82nd minute when
Siphelele Magubane’s stinging shot had to be saved by a diving Jackson
Mabokgwane, with the hosts then having a big penalty appeal waved away when a
Pirates defender appeared to handle.
Moments before the end Mutizwa headed wide from a Yusuf
Jappie cross, before Gumede palmed over from Thabo Rakhale at the other end as