Orlando Pirates came from behind twice with ten men, but ultimately lost to Baroka 4-3 in a penalty shootout in the Telkom Knockout final. SoccerClub writer DEAN WORKMAN has picked out five things we learned from the encounter.
1) Pirates have a fighting spirit
After Marshall Munetsi’s inexplicable challenge earned him a deserved red card in the 40th minute, Pirates were forced to play a large part of the 120-minute encounter with a man down.
Despite this numerical disadvantage, Pirates showed great character to fight back from a goal down, not once, but twice to help force the game into extra time.
They may have failed in the penalty shoot-out, losing 4-3 to Bakgaga, but the fighting spirit shown by Milutin Sredojevic’s side bodes well for their prospects to end that dreaded trophy drought sooner rather than later.
2) Pirates’ keeper is continuing to cost them
Sredojevic has chopped and changed his goalkeepers this season, with arguably every single one of his shotstoppers making high-profile errors.
Siyabonga Mpontshane got the nod for Saturday’s final, but unfortunately for the Buc’s stopper, he was at fault for both of Baroka’s goals. Mpontshane went flying off his line for a cross he was never reaching, which allowed the opposition in to score their opener, before a mistimed challenge in extra time resulted in the keeper giving away a penalty, duly converted.
One of the bases of a great side is a top quality goal keeper, and until the Sea Robbers manage to secure a top-quality keeper, these kinds of errors are expected to recur.
3) Baroka make history
In a real David vs Goliath story, Baroka earned their giantkillers tag by pulling off a remarkable victory over their more famous opponents.
With all the focus on Pirates aiming to end their four-year trophy drought, the side from Limpopo did exceptionally well to deal with the pressures of a final. And of course, the penalty-shoot out to reign supreme in Port Elizabeth and win their first ever Telkom Knockout, while the wait for silverware at the Orlando Stadium continues.
4) Bakgaga clinical, Buccaneers wasteful
Despite being a man down, Sredojevic’s side had the better of the opportunities throughout the game, with Thembinkhosi Lorch, Augustine Mulenga, Justin Shonga and Vincent Pule all failing to take the chances which would’ve turned the tide in Pirates’ favour.
Baroka, on the other hand, were clinical in the encounter, taking advantage of the openings they were afforded on both occasions in the game.
If Pirates had shown a more lethal streak in front of goal at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium, there may just have been a different outcome.
5) Chipezeze the hero
Elvis Chipezeze made himself and instant club legend at Baroka with his performance against Pirates. The 28-year-old shotstopper not only came out trumps in the penalty shootout, but also played a vital part throughout the 120-minute encounter.
Chipezeze pulled off a string of saves, both before the end of regulation time and then again in the added period to help force the game to penalties.
When the dust settles, this encounter could be viewed as a tale of two keepers, one the hero, Chipezeze, and another the villain, Mpontshane.
Photo: Deryck Foster/BackpagePix