Fans’ pitch invasion just shows how relieved they were with Bucs’ win

2014-05-19 00:00

THE commotion at the end of Saturday night’s Nedbank Cup final at Moses Mabhida Stadium told its own story of how much the result meant to Orlando Pirates, as thousands of the club’s supporters jumped over barriers and past security to share the moment with their heroes on the pitch.

It was a concerning moment that no doubt posed a threat to the safety of the players, and the PSL will be looking at ways to ensure that it does not happen again, but it was indicative of the uniform sigh of relief that Bucs fans around the country felt as the Soweto giants won their only trophy of the season with a 3-1 win over Wits.

Bucs had played in three cup finals this season before Saturday, losing all of them, and it appeared that they were heading in the same direction when they went into the break 1-0 down thanks to a goal from Jabulani Shongwe.

But the Pirates side that turned up for the second half played with far greater cohesion and attacking intent, and a brace from Kermit Erasmus either side of Sifiso Myeni’s controversial 63rd-minute strike ensured that Vladimir Vermezovic would win his first major trophy as Pirates boss.

The match — as one might expect from a cup final — was fiery, and Wits coach Gavin Hunt was left incensed that Myeni’s goal was allowed to stand after what he perceived to be a clear foul in the build-up. There was also a brawl that had both benches rumbling against each other in the second half. Referee Zolile Mthetho produced just a yellow card when it appeared certain that the punishment would be harsher.

“We all know that there should have been red cards in this game and that would have brought a different complexion to the match,” a visibly furious Hunt told The Witness after the match.

“But the result stands and we just have to take it.”

Hunt identified Myeni’s goal as the turning point for his side. “The second goal was a clear foul if you look at it, but obviously you guys [media] didn’t see it,” Hunt said, making reference to the fact that no journalists had questioned him over the controversy surrounding Myeni’s goal. “That changed the game, but our defence was not good today.”

Vermezovic’s mood was vastly different, and he and Erasmus were all smiles as they sat alongside each other at the post-match press conference.

“We showed today that we can play as team. In the good moments and the bad moments we always believed that we could score,” said Vermezovic.

“I think they [Pirates players] deserve it and congratulations to them. I am proud of them and their families are proud of them. It is a big day for us.”

The win means that Pirates have now secured a place in the next edition of the Caf Confederations Cup.

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