Marumo Gallants struck another nail in Orlando Pirates’ coffin as the Limpopo club dumped the Soweto giants out of the Nedbank Cup.
Johannesburg — Goalkeeper King Ndlovu scored the winning spot-kick as Marumo Gallants beat Orlando Pirates 5-4 in the lottery of penalties in the Nedbank Cup last 16 after the game ended 1-1 after extra time at the New Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday night.
Gallants title defence continued as they join Mamelodi Sundowns in the last- eight. For Pirates, though, they’ll have to refocus their energies in the league and CAF Confederation Cup as they’ll host Royal Leopards in the group stage on Sunday.
The two teams came into this encounter on the back of two contrasting results in the league, with Pirates having lost in the derby while Gallants bagged a victory over Stellenbosch FC. But they were still tipped to produce a mouth-watering clash.
Gallants’ coach Dan ‘Dance’ Malesela is a fan of carpet football, while in his heyday he captained Pirates. The Bucs, on the other hand, may have lost the derby, but they were still the better team as they enjoyed good build-up play upfront.
And that combinational football nearly produced the first goods of the day in no time. Pirates’ midfielder Kabelo Dlamini released Deon Hotto with a lovely defence splitting pass and the latter did well to cross the ball to striker Zakhele Lepasa.
Lepasa, with only the keeper King Ndlovu to beat, unceremoniously shot his effort wide off the target. Lepasa was bound to be rusty, given that this was his first start after a long-term injury. And that’s why his coaches applauded his effort.
The hosts Gallants, didn’t sit back and allow Pirates to take the game to them. They came out of the blocks as well, and were unfortunate not to find the lead after Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo’s weighted strike was parried away by Richard Ofori.
Ofori was also making his first time since the long-term from last year. But it wasn’t long before he picked the ball out of his net after conceding from a Ndlondlo penalty early on, after Happy Jele fouled Joseph Malongoane inside the box.
That should have been Gallants’ second penalty after Kwame Peprah handled the ball inside the box, but only for their appeal to fall on deaf ears of the referee. Pirates used that to their advantage as they found the equaliser soon thereafter.
Against the run of play, on the half-an-hour, Lepasa exceptionally well to hold up play before picking up a pocket of where he released Bandile Shandu who beat Ndlovu at his near post with a first time shot as Pirates breathed a sigh of relief.
Pirates were unfortunate not to find the lead a few minutes after the restart after Deon Hotto’s close-range free-kick struck the upright before the rebound fell on the head of Peprah who passed the ball into the arms of a positioned Ndlovu.
The bright start to the half dried up in the later stages as the two teams huffed and puffed for the lead. But in the end, the encounter leapfrogged normal time and went into extra time where the visitors had the best opportunity to grab the lead.
After getting at the end of a well-weighted pass on the edge of the box, Tshegofatso Mabasa did well to get in front of his marker before blasted his effort against the crossbar, while Malongoane missed a sitter to snatch the lead later on.