Pirates Qualify For Semi-Finals

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Orlando Pirates beat Golden Arrows 3-1 in the Telkom Knockout Cup semi-final played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium last Saturday night.

Abafana Bes’thende seemed on course to upset the Soweto giants when they surged ahead through Robyn Johannes, but goals from Siyabonga Sangweni, Thulasizwe Mbuyane and Oupa Manyisa guided the Buccaneers into their second successive final in this competition and a fifth Cup Final within the last season and a half. Dillon Sheppard was sent off for Arrows in the second half for a second bookable offence.

After a cagey opening to the game, Pirates almost opened the scoring in the 21st minute. An innocuous-looking long ball from Siyabonga Sangweni saw Benni McCarthy out-jump Musa Bilankulu and power a header onto the crossbar, with goalkeeper Helton Da Rocha well beaten.

Bucs looked the likelier scorers in what was a tightly-contested game, but Arrows surged ahead just past the half hour mark when former Pirates player Robyn Johannes picked up a pass from Dillon Sheppard, burst through the visitors’ backline and beat Moeneeb Josephs with a low shot.

From a former Buccaneer getting on the score sheet, it was soon the turn of a former Arrows defender to level the scores: Siyabonga Sangweni redirected a shot from Rooi Mahamutsa beyond Da Rocha in the 40th minute to leave the game locked at 1-1 heading into the break.

With just under 20 minutes to play, Pirates went into the lead when good pressure from Daine Klate and a mix-up between Mzivukile Tom and Da Rocha allowed substitute Thulasizwe Mbuyane a straightforward chance to put Bucs ahead – he duly guided home a left-footed shot to make it 2-1.

Any hopes Arrows had of sending the game to extra time were snuffed out on 83 minutes when Oupa Manyisa added to Pirates’ advantage by converting a penalty. The spot kick was awarded after Dillon Sheppard fouled Lucky Lekgwathi in the 18-yard area and earned a dismissal for a second bookable offence.