Bucs outclass Downs again

By Sports Focus Reporter Orlando Pirates coach Rudi Krol left the Orlando Stadium a happy man after his charges knocked Mamelodi Sundowns out of the Nedbank Cup with a hard fought 1-0 victory on Saturday night to book themselves a place in the Last 16 and emphasise their superiority over the Brazilians. The result was a third successive victory for Pirates over Sundowns, after they beat the Brazilians twice in the league this season. The goal that separated the boys from the men came from the boot of speedy Tlou Segolela in the second half. Coming into the game both sides attacked from the first whistle, displaying soccer wizardry, much to the delight of their ardent fans who turned out for the match in numbers on a hot summer night. Pirates had an upper hand in the first half, but both teams played their hearts out, providing the yard stick to measure who has the gumption to come out victorious, but neither Pirates or Sundowns raised their hands as they both failed to break the deadlock in the first half, and the score was goalless at half time. Credit should also Sunodowns’ Wayne Sandilands, who was the busier of the two ‘keepers. The Sundowns goal-minder stood between Pirates and their quest for an opening goal with his great reflexes that saw his side surviving the embarrassment of going into the break one, two, or three goals down. Mabhuti Khenyeza nearly grabbed the lead for Sundowns, but his shot went across the goalmouth in the 39th minute. Pirates came back strong after the break, moving forward in numbers trying to unlock the Sundowns defence. They were awarded a penalty after Thapelo Tshilo was adjudged to have handled Katlego Mashego’s goal-bound shot in the 58th minute, but the Pirates striker disappointed when his spot kick was parried back into play by Sandilands. But the Sundowns joy was short-lived, as Pirates anticipated the rebound and Tlou Segolela was at hand to break the deadlock with a blistering shot in the 59th minute, sending the stadium into frenzy. For his splendid performance, Segolela walked away with the Man of the Match award. There was drama two minutes later when Pirates’ Happy Jele was red carded by the referee for a second bookable offence. Nevertheless, the goal galvanized Pirates and the hitherto dejected supporters, who had endured more that 50 minutes of anxiety until the deadlock was broken. Sundowns’ coach, Ian Gorowa made some changes with the hope that his charges might change the situation, but the ten men of Pirates stood firm, held onto their lead, and the status quo remained the same at full time. Pirates (4-4-2): Meyiwa, Jele, Cloete, Lekgwathi, Mahamutsa, Jali, Manyisa, Segolela, Chansa (Ngobeni 88th), Mbuyane (Mayambela 80th), Mashego (Mabena 82nd). Sundowns (4-4-2): Sandilands, Mwanjale, Khumalo, Xulu, Tshilo, Nyandoro (Pattison 62nd), Mkhwanazi (Mushekwi 67th), Modise, Zothwane (Ngubane 72nd), Mphela, Khenyeza

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