Bucs look to end 10-year dry spell

2010-09-27 00:00

IF Soweto Derbies are won on guts and determination, then Orlando Pirates produced plenty of both to run out victors in yesterday’s 1-0 MTN8 semi-final second leg victory against Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium.

The Buccaneers were 2-1 winners on aggregate and will meet their other historic rivals from Soweto, Moroka Swallows, in the final at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night.

A Siyabonga Nomvete-inspired Birds were 3-2 victors over Ajax Cape Town at Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday, progressing to the final by the same scoreline after a 0-0 first leg.

It will be the first cup final between the original two Soweto teams in 30 years, since the classic Mainstay Cup last match of 1980 at Orlando Stadium, which was won 3-2 by the Buccaneers.

Pirates will be seeking their first cup trophy after a 10-year dry spell.

Bucs’ reward for a strong performance yesterday, stifling Chiefs on FNB’s carpet-like surface against the backdrop of a 69 000-strong crowd, was their first cup victory in five meetings against their arch-rivals.

Pirates could have won by more. They had the better of the chances, and missed a penalty, Rooi Mahamutsa blasting over in the 87th minute after Valery Nahayo had clattered down speedster Tlou Segolela.

Segolela was again influential as a supersub for the Buccaneers.

Pirates had enjoyed the better of a first half where both sides struggled to get behind each other’s defences, and mostly shot from range.

Chiefs, however, showed signs of a revival from a sluggish first half at the beginning of the second period, and Mthokozisi Yende struck the woodwork.

The introduction of Segolela, in blistering form since his return from last season’s one-year loan to Bloemfontein Celtic, restored Bucs’ attacking advantage.

With nine minutes to go, Thulasizwe Mbuyane swung in a low cross from the left that Katlego Mashego and Chiefs defender Dominic Isaacs both went in for at the near post, and the ball squirted off the back of the Pirates substitute’s legs past a stranded Itumeleng Khune.

“That’s something you learn as a striker,” Mashego said afterwards. “You call it the ‘money area’. You touch it and it goes in and you’re the hero. But if you aren’t there then you won’t touch it.”

Bucs coach Ruud Krol might have been relieved with his side’s victory after being under pressure coming into the game.

“Pirates were the better team in this match,” the Dutchman said. “We were aggressive and the objective was to keep Chiefs under pressure. We did it well.

“The players read the game well and this was a fantastic job. It is fantastic for the club and I’m happy for everyone at the team.”

Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic said his side were under par and struggled to play to their gameplan, though he could not put his finger on the exact reason for this.

“The Kaizer Chiefs that played today wasn’t my Kaizer Chiefs. We couldn’t make two or three passes. It was strange.

“We will analyse it and see why we played like that. We were not aggressive and I had told my players to be so because I knew Pirates were going to be aggressive.

“We will see tomorrow [what went wrong], but today we made a bad game and Orlando Pirates deserved to be in the final.”

What Pirates’ victory will mean for the beleaguered Teko Modise is open to question. The midfielder was excused from the match to attend his father-in-law’s funeral, which seemed a move to shield the player from a pressure match amidst the growing criticism he has received from Bucs’ fans.

The pressure exerted on his shoulders over the past three years as South Africa searched in desperation for a World Cup playmaker, resulting in Modise’s declining form, appears to have caught up with the midfielder.

Pirates had plenty of quality, both in the starting line-up and off the bench yesterday, and Modise will struggle to regain his starting place anytime soon.

MTN8 semi-finals

Saturday: Moroka Swallows 3 Ajax Cape Town 2 – Swallows won 3-2 on aggregate

Yesterday: Kaizer Chiefs 0 Orlando Pirates 1 – Pirates won 2-1 on aggregate

Final

Saturday: Orlando Pirates v Moroka Swallows (Moses Mabhida Stadium, 8.15 pm)

Nomvete inspires Swallows, page 19.

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