Platinum Stars claim MTN8 title

The Platinum Stars defy all odds to win the MTN8 final, beating Orlando Pirates 3-1 in penalties.

Platinum Star supporters. Picture: AFP / JUNG YEON-JE

JOHANNESBURG - The Platinum Stars defied the odds to win the MTN8 final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban following a 3-1 penalty shootout win against Orlando Pirates.

The game finished with a score of 1-1 after 120 minutes.

Robert Ng'ambi opened the scoring in the 48th minute but that strike was cancelled out by Thabo Matlaba's long range strike in the 84th minute.

Platinum Stars started the game the brighter of the two sides, despite Pirates springing a surprise on them by naming fit-again midfielder Andile Jali in the starting line-up.

The best chance of that opening spell for Stars fell to Siphelele Mthembu, who collected the ball from the edge of the area before beating a couple of defenders and running towards Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa . However his shot was blocked by Rooi Mahamutsa.

The first period failed to spark into life after that as the rain continued to fall down, resulting in lack lustre passing and no clear cut chances created by both sides.

The biggest event of the first half was the substitution of Patrick Phungwayo, who looked to be suffering with a leg injury. He was replaced by Thabo Matlaba, who would go on to have a big say in the final outcome.

Pirates did manage to create two chances before the break, the first through a half volley by Oupa Manyisa and the other being a mistimed header by Mahamutsa.

The second half was when the real action began as a free kick in the 48th minute saw Tintswalo Tshabalala step up to take it, Benson Mhlongo flicked it on and it fell kindly for Ng'ambi to head it in from a few feet out.

Pirates reacted well to the goal as they began to attack heavily, firstly through Happy Jele who headed the ball to high, then through striker Kermit Erasmus.

The striker had the ball in the net a few minutes later but the lines man ruled that it was offside. Replays suggest that the call may have been wrong as it looked as if a Stars player looked to be playing him on.

Pirates continued to attack but it wasn't until the 84th minute that the Buccaneers had a reason to smile. Thabo Matlaba got the ball from 25 yards out and hit a thunderbolt to score for Pirates and leave Stars keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane rooted to the spot.

The game lacked any intensity after that and soon extra time loomed as the game finished 1 all in regulation time.

Pirates showed the most urgency in the first period of the extra time with most of the chances falling to them. Their best chance was spurned by Joseph Molangoane, who missed from three yards out following some good work by Matlaba on the left.

The second period saw only two chances for both sides; for Pirates Matlaba had the best chance but he shot straight at the goalie while Mogakolodi Ngele failed to test Meyiwa when he burst from the right and attempted to strike the ball.

Following that it was the lottery of penalties that would decide who would walk away with the R8 million prize money.

Pirates won the toss and asked Stars to take the first penalty.

Vuyo Mere went first and scored for his team.

Jali stepped up for Pirates to equalise before Botes scored for Stars to make it 2-1.

Mahamutsa was casual with his spot kick which he missed from 12 yards out - that handed Stars the advantage and they took it as Ngele scored to make it 3-1.

Tshepo Mabena then missed his kick but Meyiwa looked to have given his team a life line when he saved Takesure Chinyama's kick.

It however was a little too late as Lennox Bacela's missed his kick to confirm the inevitable as Platinum Stars where crowned MTN8 champions.