Orlando Pirates crashed out of the Nedbank Cup after suffering a 3-2 defeat on penalties against Bidvest Wits at the Orlando Stadium on Sunday, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
Josef Zinnbauer’s men came into this game on a nine-game unbeaten run with their last defeat coming against Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs in November last year.
Gavin Hunt’s side, meanwhile, saw their midweek Absa Premiership fixture against Black Leopards abandoned and came into this clash off the back of three consecutive defeats in the Caf Confederation Cup.
The last time these two sides met in this competition, Pirates went on to lift the trophy in Durban back in 2014.
The Clever Boys showed their intent early on and had a great chance to take the lead in the fourth minute but Deon Hotto dragged his effort wide of goal with only Joris Delle to beat.
Pirates were dealt a major blow in the 11th minute when Abel Mabaso was forced off the field through injury and had to be replaced by Alfred Ndengane.
Wits were then awarded a penalty in the 28th minute. Bienvenu Eva Nga stepped up and made no mistake to put his side ahead from the penalty spot.
The visitors then doubled their lead with a minute to play when Hotto beat his marker before firing his effort into the bottom corner.
The Students managed to hold on to their two-goal lead over Pirates as the game went into the half-time break.
Zinnbauer made his first change of the game at the restart when Kabelo Dlamini came on for Siphelele Ndlovu.
Wits came close to grabbing a third goal three minutes later but Eva Nga was denied by the woodwork.
Zakhele Lepasa has a chance to reduce the deficit in the 57th minute but Ricardo Goss was well positioned to keep out the Pirates attackers effort.
The Buccaneers opted to bring on a fresh pair of lead in the 62nd minute as Justin Shonga came on to replace Innocent Maela.
Pirates managed to pulled a goal back six minutes later when Thembinkosi Lorch found the back of the net with a powerful finish from close range.
The home side then levelled matters in the 74th minute when captain Happy Jele headed the ball home to make it 2-2.
The Buccaneers pressed forward in search of a winning goal in the closing stages of the game but the game was forced into extra-time.
Wits thought they should have been awarded a penalty in the first half of extra time when Gift Motupa was brought down in the box but the referee did not award a penalty.
Immediately after that, Wits were reduced to 10-men after Elias Pelembe received a second yellow, while Pirates received a penalty after Luvuyo Memela was down inside the box. lepasa stepped up and made no mistake from the spot-kick.
Shonga should’ve extended his sides lead in the second stanza but Goss made a good save to deny the attacker from close range.
Motupa then snatched a equaliser in stoppage-time with a low finish that came off Delle’s arm before crossing the line and sending the game to penalties.
However, Wits came out on top in the penalty shoot-out courtesy of Lorenzo Gordinho, who scored the winning penalty to send Hunt’s side into the last 16.
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