Home competition discipline Carling Knockout Cup: Richards Bay dump Orlando Pirates out on penalties

Carling Knockout Cup: Richards Bay dump Orlando Pirates out on penalties

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The Durban-based outfit booked their place in their first-ever cup semi-final, while Pirates went four games without a victory for the first time under head coach Jose Riveiro.

Richards Bay FC players celebrate winning on penalties during the 2023 Carling Knockout quarter-final match against Orlando Pirates at Moses Machida Stadium in Durban on Saturday. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

RICHARDS Bay booked their spot in the Carling Knockout Cup semi-finals on Saturday as they stunned Orlando Pirates in a penalty shoot-out win at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The Natal Rich Boyz managed to hold the Sea Robbers to a goalless stalemate after extra time, before finishing off the game 5-4 via penalties.

The Durban-based outfit booked their place in their first-ever cup semi-final, while Pirates went four games without a victory for the first time under head coach Jose Riveiro.

The unavailability of their regular No.1 goalkeeper saw Melusi Buthelezi start his third game in a row for Pirates, looking to keep his second clean sheet in that period.

Pirates had regressed in recent weeks, dropping valuable points in the DStv Premiership, with many expecting them to find their form in a cup competition.

Salim Magoola’s decision to not participate in the Black Label-sponsored cup for religious reasons saw Richards Bay coach Kaitaino Tembo hand over the gloves to Philasande Manqele, 22.

Just as the thousands in attendance had expected, the Buccaneers began as the more upbeat of the two teams, looking to make a flying start to the game.

However, the hosts were determined to hold their own against their much-favoured opponents.

The cagey nature of the encounter saw both keepers largely untroubled for the first 40 minutes of the match, and it was in the 42nd minute where Pirates nearly took the lead.

A marauding run by Bandile Shandu saw him feed a through ball to Monnapule Saleng inside the box. However, Manqele got his angle right and blocked Saleng’s low shot.

The urgency of the first stanza seemed to favour the visitors more, as they came even closer in stoppage time through left back Deon Hotto.

The flying Namibian international burst into the Richards Bay box and was found with a through ball, but with pressure on him, he scuffed his shot and hit the upright.

Tembo made two substitutes at the half-time break as midfield duo Langelihle Mhlongo and Moses Mthembu came on for Nkululeko Miya and Abel Mabaso.

The changes almost reaped immediate rewards as the hosts combined incisive forward passes before Thulani Gumede’s cross was missed by centimetres by Somila Nsundwana at the far post.

Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro recognised the turn of the tide early in the second half and introduced the attacking partnership of Karim Kimvuidi and Relebohile Mofokeng off the bench in the 60th minute.

Both Richards Bay and Pirates could not clinch a late winner, sending the game to extra-time.

The demands of having to play extra time seemed to take a toll more on Richards Bay as bodies began to fall to the ground with cramps. However, even with the momentum, the Sea Robbers could not capitalise on their momentum.

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