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HomeNedbank CupPirates Complete Cup Double Win Over Sundowns With Nedbank Cup Title

Pirates Complete Cup Double Win Over Sundowns With Nedbank Cup Title

Cup specialists Orlando Pirates made it back-to-back cup final triumphs in the 2023/24 season after beating Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 in a tense Nedbank Cup final clash at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

South Africa’s richest cup competition capped off what has already been a truly scintillating and record-breaking campaign in fashionable style.

Pirates and Sundowns battled yet another final after the two teams fought it out for the MTN8 final earlier on in the last term. The former emerged 3-1 victors in a tense penalty shootout on that occasion.

With just two minutes on the clock, Sundowns almost took the lead after they intercepted a defensive error from Pirates. Lucas Ribeiro connected on a one-two with Aubrey Modiba but Thabiso Monyane produced a well-timed block.

Sundowns were given a contentious penalty in the fifth minute after Deon Hotto was adjudged to have played the man instead of the ball on Khuliso Mudau. Referee Skhumbuzo Gasa pointed to the penalty spot. Ribeiro stepped up but saw his effort knee-saved by Pirates goalkeeper Sipho Chaine.

The Buccaneers had a clear-cut chance to open the scoring in the 16th minute after Patrick Maswanganyi found himself in the Sundowns box. Williams was very quick off his line however to make a well-timed save and keep the score level at 0-0.

Jose Riveiro’s charges had another effort at goal in the 18th minute when Evidence Makgopa collected the ball on the left-hand side before running at the Sundowns goal. The Pirates striker took a shot which failed to trouble the Masandawana’s defence.

Deon Hotto came very close to breaking the deadlock in the 22nd minute after being played in behind the Sundowns backline by Monnapule Saleng. The Namibian international could only watch in awe after Williams pulled off a stunning save at the near post for a corner kick.

Pirates thought they had taken the lead in the 45th minute after Innocent Maela put the ball in the Sundowns net. The Pirates captain was however flagged for offside.

In the 48th minute, Makgopa, with his back towards goal attempted an audacious overhead kick but the ball sailed off target and straight into the stands.

A minute later, Teboho Mokoena tried a half-volley from just outside the Pirates box in the 49th minute but his shot sailed over Chaine’s crossbar as the whistle blew to bring the first half to an end. Both sides deadlocked at 0-0.

It took just 10 minutes for the breakthrough to arrive in the second half. Ribeiro met the end of substitute Junior Mendieta’s cross on the edge of the Pirates box. The Brazilian skinned Maela and Makhehleni Makhaula before squaring the ball for an unmarked Themba Zwane who tapped in from close range to make it 1-0 for Sundowns.

In the 68th minute, it was Pirates’ chance to draw matters level after referee Gasa gave another spot-kick of the afternoon after Modiba fouled Maswanganyi. ‘Tito’ took the resulting penalty to send Williams the wrong way and bring Pirates level on terms.

Kabelo Dlamini tried his luck from range shortly after in the 72nd minute but his shot was a tame one and comfortably saved by Williams.

In the 76th minute, Tshegofatso Mabasa was inches close to giving Pirates the lead for the first time in the game. The DSTv Premiership Golden Boot winner received a low cross from Saleng before turning and taking a shot. Again, Williams was at the right spot at the right time to thwart that threat.

It was almost game, set and match for Sundowns in the 89th minute when Modiba, in acres of space fired a shot from just outside the box but Thabiso Lebitso produced a goal-bound block.

Sundowns were made to rue that chance as 19-year-old Relebohile Mofokeng completed Pirates’ come-from-behind win, stealing it at the death in 94th minute as Pirates clinched a cup double for a second season running.

iDiski Times
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