A 93rd minute penalty goal from Bongani Ndulula saw Orlando Pirates come from behind to win their 1st leg MTN8 semifinal 3-2, beating Mamelodi Sundowns in a five goal thriller at Orlando Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
It was an action packed 45 minutes as both sides looked to attack from the first whistle and goal mouth action was in abundance.
In fact, we only had to wait six minutes before the game saw its first goal which was superbly set-up by the Buccaneers’ Benni McCarthy who played a delicate pass to find Thulasizwe Mbuyane inside the box. He then proceeded to beat one defender before slipping the ball past Wayne Sandilands, 1-0.
‘Downs, though, were intent on hitting back as soon as possible and, after a great passing movement by the Brazilians saw Lebohang Mokoena pulled down inside the box by Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi, they had their chance from the penalty spot.
Katlego Mphela stepped-up to the spot but saw his effort brilliantly saved by Moneeb Josephs diving to his right. Josephs, though, palmed the ball back into the path of Mphela who made no mistake with the rebound, 1-1.
Then, only four minutes later after going a goal down early on, the Brazilians took the lead after a great counter-attack from the visitors.
Elias Pelembe was quick to notice the opportunity and attacked down the left flank before supplying a good cross into the box which was magnificently volleyed home by Musa Nyatama from just inside the 18-yard area, 2-1.
In the 21st minute Pirates came within centimetres of equalising in the most bizarre of circumstances when Ramahlwe Mphahlele tried to clear the ball on the edge of his own box, but saw his clearance rebound of Daine Klate and head towards the goal.
Luckily for Sandilands, who was out of position, he saw the ball bounce of the top side of the crossbar and not into the back of his net.
In the 37th minute only the head of Punch Masenamela kept the Brazilians in front when Happy Jele met a right-sided corner at the back post, but his header was cleared off the goal line by the Sundowns left-back.
The second half saw the Brazilians sitting back in defence and trying to defend their lead. Pirates, on the other hand, pushed numbers forward in search of the equaliser.
Tlou Segolela, in particular, looked extremely dangerous for the Sundowns defence because whenever he touched the ball he seemed to create goal scoring chances for the Buccaneers.
Finally, in the 79th minute Pirates were able to make their relentless pressure pay off when Segolela, himself, found the back of the net with a thunderous shot from just inside the 18-yard area that rattled the underside of the crossbar before going in, 2-2.
In the second minute of added time Segolela was in the thick of the action again and won his side a penalty-kick after being pulled down inside the box by Surprise Moriri.
Bongani Ndulula, who never looked like missing, coolly stepped-up and sent the keeper the wrong way to give his side the lead and the win, 3-2.
Orlando Pirates (1) 3 (Mbuyane 6’, Segolela 79’, Ndulala 93’ pen)
Mamelodi Sundowns (2) 2 (Mphela 15’, Nyatama 19’)
Pirates: Josephs; Jele, Lekgwathi, Sangweni, Thwala, Segolela, Jali, Manyisa, Klate (Mabena 57’), Mbuyane (Mayambela 81’), McCarthy (Ndulula 74’)
Sundowns: Sandilands; Mphahlele, Mwanjale, Xulu, Masenamela, Nyatama, Moriri, Modise (Pattison 73’), Pelembe, Mphela (Mushekwi 71’), Mokoena (Cale 84’)-Backpagepix