Baroka made history by securing their maiden title in the top flight after defeating Orlando Pirates on penalties to claim the Telkom Knockout Cup after the clash ended in a pulsating 2-2 draw.
Milutin Sredojevic’s side booked their spot in the final of the cup competition after edging arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in the Soweto derby, while Bakgaga claimed the scalp of two former champions en route to the final, defeating Mamelodi Sundowns (2-0) and Bidvest Wits (1-0) in the quarter and semi-finals respectively to book their first-ever spot in a cup final.
The encounter got off to a lively start, with both sides signalling their intent to attack from the first whistle.
Pirates were presented with the best opportunity of the game when captain Mduduzi Mdantsane gave away possession, which gifted Thembinkosi Lorch a one-on-one opportunity with the Baroka goalkeeper. However, the attacker aimed his effort straight into the hands of the shot-stopper.
Baroka upped their tempo considerably and put the Buccaneers on the back door, following a series of pacy attacks, but failed to make it count in the final third.
Pirates were dealt a huge blow minutes before the half-time break when defender Marshall Munetsi was shown a straight red card for a vicious two-footed lunge.
Baroka took the lead seconds before the half-time break when goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane failed to deal with an aerial ball into the area which allowed Jemondre Dickens to finish home with ease.
Despite their one-goal disadvantage, Pirates emerged in the second half with a better shape and came close to equalising matters in the 47th minute, but Mlambo skied his effort.
Baroka should have gone two goals ahead a minute later when Tebogo Sodi left captain Happy Jele for dead, but blazed his effort over the bar with only Mpontshane to beat.
Pirates did manage to level matters minutes later when Musa Nyatama tapped home Justin Shonga’s well-struck salt-piece, which came off the post and the back of the Baroka goalkeeper.
The goal upped Pirates’ confidence, who no longer looked a team short of a man and instead looked the more likely of the two teams to add to their tally.
Baroka made the first change of the game when goalscorer Dickens made way for Onkabetse Makgantai in the 70th minute.
Mulenga should have doubled Pirates’ scoring in the 74th minute when a swift attacking move involving Lorch, Shonga and Mulenga saw the latter find some space in the area, however he failed to direct his effort goalward.
Bakgaga made their second change of the game with 12 minutes left in the game as Collins Bakgaga was brought on in a bid to restore the lead.
Neither side were able to find the breakthrough in the required 90 minutes, with the two sides forced to do duty in extra time.
Baroka were given a penalty in the 108th minute of extra time when Mpontshane brought down Sodi in the area, with captain Mdantsane netting the resultant spot kick.
Pirates did all they could to claw their way back into the game. However, they failed to break down a resilient Baroka defence as Bakgaga looked destined to claim their maiden trophy in the top flight.
Telkom Knockout top-scorer Lorch had the last laugh as he headed home Shonga’s cross into the area with minutes left in the clash.
The Sea Robbers came agonisingly close to netting the winner minutes later, but Mlambo’s goalbound effort cannoned off the crossbar with the goalkeeper well-beaten.
In the end, the clash was decided by the lottery of penalties, where Chipezeze stood tall as Baroka made history to claim their maiden title in the top flight.
Photo: Backpage pix
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