Pirates eject Sundowns from Nedbank Cup
The Buccaneers orchestrated the perfect elimination of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns.
JOHANNESBURG - It seems Orlando Pirates have turned the corner and have hit a purple patch, looking like their old selves again.
The Buccaneers orchestrated the perfect elimination of defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns, handing out two lethal blows in extra time.
Tendai Ndoro and Mpho Makola scored in a matter of minutes to hand Pirates a deserved 2-0 win over Sundowns and help their side book a place in the semifinals of the competition.
When the game ended goalless after 90 minutes, plus the first 15 minutes of the extra 30, it seemed as though it would be decided on penalties.
Eric Tinkler's men, however, would have none of that, as they sucker-punched the home side with a counter attack that saw Ndoro making no mistakes.
Like clockwork, Sundowns got a rude awakening and piled on the pressure looking for the equalizer, but that would be to their detriment as Pirates absorbed the onslaught and launched another blitz. This time, Ndoro opted to share the spotlight with Makola, who calmly fired his team into a two-goal lead.
It can't be said that Sundowns didn't look good for the win, as they kept goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo busy all night, forcing some very telling saves from him, a performance that won him the Man-of-the-Match award.
What's probably the biggest disappointment of the game, from a Sundowns point of view, was that they played the latter part of it with a one-man advantage, this after Edwin Gyimah was given his marching orders for a reckless tackle on Khama Billiat.
Before his sending off, Gyimah had been playing his socks off to keep his side in the game.
Pirates' victory now sees them claim bragging rights over Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns, this as they've done away with both giants, putting themselves squarely in the driving seat to go all the way and be crowned champions.
They will also be looking to continue their fine form in all competitions, that's seen them winning eight of their last nine matches, dating back two months.
Supersport United and Free State Stars also joined Pirates as they saw off Mpumalanga Black Aces and Wits respectively, leaving one more spot for Polokwane City or Baroka FC.