Nedbank Cup: 10-man Bucs cling on to go through to the last four

2011-04-26 00:00

SOWETO — Orlando Pirates are to join Black Leopards, Mpumalanga Black Aces and Baroka FC in the semi-finals of the 2011 Nedbank Cup after beating Free State Stars 1-0 at the Orlando Stadium yesterday afternoon.

The Buccaneers played the last 30 minutes of their match with 10 men, but a goal early in the second half from defender Happy Jele proved to be enough to hand them a victory over Ea Lla Koto.

After a scrappy opening, Pirates came to life around the midway point of the first half. Francis Chansa and Happy Jele both tried their hand at long-range efforts that were easily saved by goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, while Chiukepo Msowoya had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Victor Hlungwani.

Stars’ Noah Chivuta came close to breaking the deadlock in the 28th minute with a cheeky chip from long range that carried just over Senzo Meyiwa’s crossbar and brushed the top of the netting.

On 36 minutes Bucs created the best chance of the first half, with a ball over the top sending Thulasizwe Mbuyane free down the left of the penalty area. Sadly for the home fans, the attacker scuffed a low shot wide of the mark when a square pass for Chansa would have handed the Zambian a virtual tap-in.

Bucs’ perseverance was rewarded nine minutes after the restart when Happy Jele continued his great form by putting the hosts 1-0 up. A 54th minute Dikgang Mabalane corner kick was cleared straight back to the winger, whose second cross to the near post was glanced home by the unmarked Jele.

Pirates seemed to be in the driving seat but just past the hour mark they were reduced to 10 men. Stars slipped Noah Chivuta through on goal and Meyiwa sprinted off his line and tripped up the attacker just outside the penalty area; referee Hlungwani had no choice but to show a red card to the ‘keeper.

Bucs brought on third-choice goalkeeper Jacob Mokhasi, sacrificing Msowoya up front. The new man between the posts made a terrific last-gasp save in the 74th minute, somehow denying Madoda Motha when the Stars striker looked certain to force the ball over the goal line from close range.

Stars, with a man’s advantage, dominated possession in the latter stages, though it was Pirates, through the pace of Mabalane and substitute Tlou Segolela, that actually looked the likelier scorers. — Backpagepix.

NEDBANK CUP SEMI-FINALS

Baroka FC V Black Leopards

Orlando Pirates V MP Black Aces

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