Orlando Pirates booked their spot in the Telkom Knockout final after securing a 2-1 victory against Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto derby, courtesy of goals by Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
Amakhosi went into the clash wanting to avenge their 2-1 loss to their arch-rivals in the Absa Premiership match a month earlier.
Giovanni Solinas made two changes to the side that lost against their competitors, with George Maluleka and Lebogang Manyama being handed starting berths ahead of Siphelele Ntshangase and Bernard Parker.
Milutin Sredojevic made three changes to his lineup that beat Chiefs, with Asavela Mbekile, Thabiso Kutumela and Musa Nyatama being given the nod ahead of Abbubaker Mobara, Augustine Mulenga and Ben Mothswari.
The game got off to a fierce start with both sides getting stuck into every challenge in the opening stanza.
Pirates took the lead in the 13th minute after defender Mario Booysen misjudged the flight of the ball, allowing Vincent Pule to set Thembinkosi Lorch up for the opener in a swift, brilliant attacking move.
Chiefs drew level in the 18th minute when a ball over the top by Khama Billiat wasn’t properly dealt with by Happy Jele and Siyabonga Mpontshane, which allowed Leonardo Castro to sneak in between them to slot home, much against the run of play.
Pirates looked more threatening in the final third, with Booysen enduring a shocker. Pirates duo Lorch and Pule almost combined to good effect with minutes left in the first half, however the latter’s half-volley failed to threaten Itumeleng Khune.
The two sides went into the half-time break with the scoreline deadlocked at 1-1.
Pirates emerged as the more dominant team in the second stanza, while Chiefs were content with playing on the counter-attack.
Pule came close to restoring Pirates’ lead just after the hour mark, but Justin Shonga failed to get on to the end of the Bafana Bafana international’s ball into the area after he left Godfrey Walusimbi for dead.
Both sides opted for their first changes of the game in the 68th minute as Parker replaced Manyama, while Mulenga came on for Kutumela.
Chiefs had their best opportunity of the first half when a neat interchange of passes between Dumisani Zuma and Khama Billiat saw the latter find some space in the area. However, the Zimbabwean opted to cross when a shot seemed a more viable option.
Shonga grabbed the winner in the 84th minute when he latched on to the end of Mulenga’s cross into the area.
Chiefs had the easiest of opportunities to level the scoring five minutes later, however Booysen’s header went over the crossbar.
Photo: Pirates twitter account
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