PIRATES DRAW FIRST BLOOD
By: Lucky Khanyile
Orlando Pirates are the champions of the Carling Black Label Cup after defeating their arch rivals Kaizer Chiefs on penalties on Saturday.
A scoreless draw at the FNB stadium after 90 minutes of regulation time resulted in a penalty shootout which saw Pirates win 6-5, with Thabo Matlaba netting the decisive penalty.
Both the Soweto giants suffered injuries as Kingston Nkhatha and Happy Jele went down. The collision between Nkhatha and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa saw him being substituted in the early stages of the game, and Jele saw his game come to an early conclusion after suffering chest pains.
Orlando Pirates Oupa Manyisa controlled the middle of the park while releasing the likes of Daine Klate, Tlou Segolela and Sfiso Myeni to penetrate from the wide flanks. Kaizer Chiefs game plan saw them sitting back and protecting their goal posts.
Segolela had the most chances to score but never really troubled the keeper. The reigning Pirates player of the season, Manyisa, tried to liven up things when he took a pot-shot from long range in the 12th minute that went narrowly wide.
The Sea Robbers continued probing attacks, with Jele almost getting the better of Khune when he headed just over the bar from a Klate inswinging free-kick seven minutes from the break.
The Glamour Boys skipper, Khune proved that he is still South Africa’s number one shot stopper as he swallowed Kermit Erusmus shot later.
The Glamour Boys showed intensity in the second stanza as their hard man Willard Katsande fired a cracker but Meyiwa made a telling stop in the 48th. The veteran Josta Dladla was introduced at the expense of Katlego
Mphela while former Platinum Stars marks-man Issa Sarr took Tlou Segolela’s place.
George Maluleka could have taken the lead but failed to convert from the penalty spot after George Lebese was brought down by Rooi Mahamutsa in the 66th.
The pre-season ends and both team will be in action seven days from today when they take part in the MTN 8.