Sport


Pirates crowned MTN 8 champions

4 October 2010

Orlando Pirates broke a 10-year knockout competition title drought when they captured South Africa's MTN 8 Cup at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday night after a penalty shootout win over Moroka Swallows.

Pirates' R8-million reward was the biggest prize in the club's history, while Swallows, along with the other six teams that qualified for the competition, each took home R800 000.

The Buccaneers triumphed 4-2 from the penalty spot after the teams had ended regulation time level at 1-1.

Big things are always expected of Pirates by the club's fans, so the silverware would have undoubtedly taken some pressure off the shoulders of coach Ruud Krol.

'I am relieved'

"I am relieved, but I am a happy man now that we have ended Pirates' 10-year drought without a knockout trophy", Krol said afterwards.

"I am pleased for everyone, especially our chairman [Irvin Khoza] who has worked so hard at building the club and at last we can show him a reward."

While Andile Jali was named man of the match and Moneeb Josephs excelled in the shootout, Krol had words of praise for Ezenwa Otorogu, who won Pirates a penalty in the first half. "I think Otorogu did a fantastic job for us up front," he said.

'The whole team impressed me'

"The whole team impressed me. They did what I asked them to do," he added.

Pirates set the tempo from the opening kick off and showed good movement as they placed their Soweto rivals under pressure.

Otorogu, who shone in the first half, spurned the first chance of the contest when he headed over the crossbar from close range.

Penalty

In the 19th minute, however, the big Nigerian won the Buccaneers a penalty after a sweet build up had set him free to take on the Birds' goalkeeper Aubrey Mathibe in a one-on-one. Otorogu got the better of the goalie, but was brought down and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the penalty.

Daine Klate was handed the responsibility of the spot kick and he responded well by sending Mathibe the wrong way to put Pirates ahead.

Swallows were under the cosh, but they almost levelled matters a few minutes later. Bucs' net-minder Moneeb Josephs needed to show sharp reflexes to stop a cross that turned into a shot by Keegan Ritchie.

Great chance

Thulasizwe Mbuyane had a great chance to double Pirates' lead after 27 minutes, but he fired tamely at Mathibe, who pulled off a good save.

Dikgang Mabalane then had an opportunity to beat the Swallows' goalkeeper, but his shot was narrowly wide.

Shortly before the break, Klate raced into the box and beat Mathibe, but then fired past the post.

The first half belonged almost exclusively to Pirates, with Swallows looking short of ideas and answers to the Sea Robbers' pressure.

Second half

It looked as if the game would follow a similar pattern in the second half when Pirates came out of the blocks strongly, once again exerting their tempo on the game. Swallows, however, appeared more resolute in defence and it took some time for Pirates to create a chance.

Mabalane was wide with a shot and it was Swallows who were the first to have a shot on target. It came courtesy of veteran striker Siyabonga Nomvethe whose volley at the back post was well saved by Josephs in the Pirates' goal.

Equaliser

With only four minutes remaining on the clock, the Birds made Pirates pay for their missed chances earlier in the match by equalising. Morgan Shivambu got onto the end of a free kick taken by Gareth Ncaca and headed the ball past Josephs and into the goal.

Pirates came closest to winning the game in extra time, but Greg Etafia, who had replaced Aubrey Mathibe at half-time, saved superbly from a long range shot by Clifford Ngobeni.

It all came down to penalties in the end. The teams were level at 2-2 when Nomvethe missed for Swallows. Isaac Chansa then netted for Pirates to give them the advantage. When Kagiso Mashishi missed for Swallows it gave Lucky Lekgwathi a chance to win the game. He scored and Orlando Pirates celebrated.

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