Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates beat SuperSport United 2-1 after extra time in a
gruelling Telkom Cup semi-final at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in
Atteridgeville on Saturday afternoon.
The Buccaneers had shaded
Supersport via a penalty shoot-out in the MTN8 Cup semi-final earlier in
the season and it seemed the game was heading in the same direction as
the teams remained level at 1-1 well into extra-time.
stunning, close-range winning goal from enterprising midfielder Andile
Jale in the 110th minute, after inter-passing between Collins Mbesuma
and Tlou Segolela had split the SuperSport defence, ensured that Pirates
did not need to go into the nerve-wracking lottery of a penalty
shoot-out on this occasion.
The hard-earned victory gained for
the Buccaneers their third Cup Final appearance of the season, after
losing to Egypt's Al Ahly in the two-leg Caf Champions League final and
going down to Platinum Stars in the MTN8 Final - with third time lucky
now very much on the minds of everyone in the Pirates' camp.
steamy, energy-sapping afternoon, the difference between the two sides
ultimately appeared to be the extra sharpness and match-fitness that
Pirates gained in the past couple of months as a result of reaching
Caf's Champions League final.
However, it was SuperSport who
forged into an early lead when towering 1.94-metre Senegal striker Mame
Niang headed the ball into the net in typical fashion in the 12th minute
following a precise cross from Thuso Phala. Supersport defended
stoically for the remainder of the opening half and worried Pirates with
several sharp counter-attacks.
But SuperSport slipped up
immediately after the interval when they seemed to come back onto the
pitch lacking in a measure of concentration, with Pirates taking full
advantage with a snappy 46th minute equaliser
Luyande Bacela split the SuperSport defence with precise inter-passing
and Oupa Manyisa was on hand to equalise from close-range.
came within a whisker of regaining the lead in the 71st minute when the
dangerous Niang headed the ball into the net for a second time, but he
appeared centimetres off-side and the goal was disallowed.
at this stage were playing with more verve and cohesion and only one of
the PSL saves of the season from Rowen Fernandez in the SuperSport goal
prevented substitute Collins Mbesuma from scoring.
struck the post in the 101st minute with a fierce ground shot and shook
his head in disbelief over the richochted ball not crossing the
Former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Fernandez came on to
the field in the 26th minute as a substitute for the incapacitated Rowen
Williams and was a tower of strength in the SuperSport defence -
thwarting Pirates on several occasions with instinctive saves.
Fernandez had no chance with Jale's cunning shot that earned his team a
much-sought victory and the accolade of "Man of the Match" as an