Pirates, Wits set up final

2014-05-03 23:38

Vladimir Vermezovic’s boldvow this week that his side will win the Nedbank Cup is well on course, at least for now.

Unlike their Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs, who lost to Bidvest Wits earlier in the day, Orlando Pirates defeated Maritzburg United to book a spot in the final.

Pirates did not win any silverware last season and have lost on three finals this season, this being their last chance to finish on a high on what has been an overall shoddy season.

The Buccaneers and Wits are no longer contenders for the PSL title, which is now a two-horse race between Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns, meaning this is the last chance for silverware for the two finalists.

The first half was not the most entertaining as United played defensively while the Bucs missed several scoring opportunities.

The first culprit was Daine Klate, who passed the ball to United goalkeeper Virgil Vries instead of shooting.

Seven minutes later, Vries once more came to the hosts’ rescue, saving Thabo Matlaba’s low shot.

This just after United were dealt a big blow by an injury to Orlando Smeekes who had to make way for Terrence Mandaza 17 minutes into the opening half. United parked the bus successfully for the rest of the first half as they did not concede, but the second half was a different story.

It was an own goal courtesy of Mario Booysen that broke the duck for the Bucs eight minutes after half-time.

Booysen scored in the wrong net after the ball deflected off him following a short that came off Vries. The closing stanza was more entertaining than the opening half with both teams going at each other.

Mpho Makola fired a long low-drive from outside the box past Vries to put Pirates two goals ahead in the 60th minute.

Twenty minutes before the final whistle, Oupa Manyisa made an easy task look difficult when he sent the ball over the crossbar in what would have been a beautiful conversion in the oval-shaped ball game called rugby.

A minute later, Mandaza showed Manyisa how it is done with the round ball when he pulled one back for the home side.

By this time, United players had realised the best way was to attack, but it was rather too little too late.

It is something they should have done from the beginning instead of parking that blue bus in front of their posts.

On the other side, VV had realised he was home and dry as he brought in Ayanda Gcaba for Klate five minutes before the end.

» Meanwhile, Timothy Molobi reports from Bidvest Stadium that the only good thing from the Nedbank Cup semifinal clash between Wits and Kaizer Chiefs was the fact that charity was the winner because of the Goals for Goals Campaign, as every goal scored meant R10?000 towards charity.

Other than the R40?000 going towards charity courtesy of the four goals, there was nothing particularly entertaining about the game. Pity there had to be a winner at the end and the Students eventually won on penalties.

But Cup games are not known for entertaining football – it’s all about winning and not about how you win.

The result means once again no club has been able to defend the Nedbank Cup and it was sweet revenge for Gavin Hunt after he lost to Stuart Baxter in last season’s final while at SuperSport United.

It also killed the dream of a Soweto derby final between Amakhosi and Pirates.

As for Chiefs, it could not get any worse as their season has gone pear-shaped. They are destined to finish without silverware this season as their chances of defending the PSL title have also gone up in smoke.

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