Penalties save Bucs again

2012-07-29 08:05

Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1
Orlando Pirates (0) 1

Pirates won 5-4 on penalties.

They all count, don’t they? Penalties or not, a win is a win and Orlando Pirates supporters left the FNB stadium a happy lot after their team reached a 1-1 stalemate with Chiefs in the 90 minutes.

For the second year running the Carling Black Label Cup had to be decided on penalties and it brought back last year’s memories when Itumeleng Khune’s ballooned kick gave Pirates the victory.

Just like he did last weekend in the Mbombela Cup, goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was Pirates’ hero after saving two penalties to ensure they retained the trophy.

This might have been just another preseason game but no one wants to lose to their rivals and this game showed the rivalry is as contested as ever.

Just when Chiefs thought they had it in the bag, Benni McCarthy’s injury-time header leveled the scores and took the game to penalties.

There was nothing friendly about this game as both teams went at it hammer and tongs. As this was just a warm-up to the season, one would have expected the players to go easy on each other but the opposite was the case as this Soweto derby lived up to its hype as a bruising encounter – tackles were flying and emotions ran high.

Referee Daniel Bennett had a busy night as he had to, on more than one occasion, flash yellow cards to restore order as the game threatened to get out of hand.

Crowd-favourite Mark Mayambela disappointed the Bucs supporters, who had huge faith in him. Despite his long-range effort in the 12th minute that sailed over the bar, the midfielder was wasteful on a number of occasions, easily giving possession away.

 No wonder he has not been used more often. It was no surprise when he did not return from the dressing room after the break, replaced by Daine Klate. Bucs’ new recruit Sifiso Myeni did well on his first game for the Ghost as he showed signs of full recovery from the ankle injury which delayed his debut.

The former Bidvest Wits midfielder deservedly got a standing ovation from Pirates supporters when he was replaced by Tlou Segolela in the 70th minute.

On the other hand Abia Nale justified supporters’ backing by netting Chiefs’ goal in the 10th minute.

Nale, who rarely gets a starting berth, benefited from a George Lebese cross to put Chiefs ahead. The goal came against the run of play as the Buccaneers were first to settle early in the game.

Nale was a constant menace to the Bucs rear guard as he gave them a hard time every time he had possession.

At one point he ran circles around Bucs captain Lucky Lekgwathi before showing him a clean pair of heels.

McCarthy nearly pulled one back for the defending champions but Siboniso Gaxa’s timely intervention prevented the striker from hitting the net just before half time.

Playing in their first derby, defenders Morgan Gould and Gaxa did well to contain Pirates’ strike force, led by McCarthy, although at times the defence was too easily bridged.

After their victories last weekend when Chiefs won the Gauteng Challenge and Pirates the Mbombela Cup, a lot was expected from the sides and they did not disappoint.

They gave the supporters a taste of what to expect in the new season. It should be great.

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