Home Sport Pirates cruise into Nedbank Cup quarter-finals after routing Lions

Pirates cruise into Nedbank Cup quarter-finals after routing Lions

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Tshegofatso Mabasa of Orlando Pirates scored a brace in their quarter-final clash against Hungry Lions. File Picture: Nokwanda Zondi, BackpagePix

Mihlali Baleka

ORLANDO PIRATES (1)(4)

Monaheng (OG) 18’, Mabasa 66’, 90+5’ Saleng 72’

HUNGRY LIONS (0)(0)

ORLANDO STADIUM – Makhehlene Makhaula’s first-half injury was the only pooper in Orlando Pirates’ party as the Sea Robbers cruised into the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals last night.

Pirates hammered National First Division side Hungry Lions 4-0 in Orlando, having had to overcome the trauma of seeing teammate Makhaula sustain what looked like a seizure.

After a clearance, Makhaula fell to the turf and needed medical attention which saw him breath through an oxygen pump and heavily strapped as he was stretchered off the field.

Pirates showed their mental strength in the second half as they wrapped up the tie in style, keeping their title defence alive.

With Lions campaigning in the second-tier division, this clash had the potential of being a banana skin for the Bucs. But it wasn’t to be. Instead, Pirates sent a stern message to the rest of the seven teams they’ll meet in Monday’s quarter-final draw of their aim to defend their cup.

Morena Monaheng gave the hosts a gift in the first half before Tshegofatso Mabasa’s brace and a solo goal from Man of Match Monnapule Saleng won the game.

Pirates had a dominant start as coach Jose Riveiro made only four changes to the team that beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-2 in the derby last weekend.

These changes saw the return of Melusi Buthelezi between the sticks for the first time since he was hijacked and kidnapped two weeks ago.

Buthelezi didn’t have much to do in the first half. His teammates, albeit dominant, played long balls during the early stages, to the delight of the visitors who sat back and defended.

But Patrick Maswangayi proved just why he’d been Pirates’ best player this season. He directed traffic in the final third, hoping to exploit the pockets. ‘Tito’ was rewarded for his exploits as his timed pass towards Relebehile Mofokeng came off the knee of Monaheng, beating Glen Baadjies in goal.

That contribution didn’t only please the Ghost that filled this venue, but it must have pleased Bafana Bafana coach Hugo Broos as well.

Broos recently gave Maswanganyi his maiden call-up for the Fifa series pilot project, which will be held in Algeria in the next two weeks.

Pirates had a bitter-sweet ending to the first half as they led, while still reeling over the injury to Makhaula.

Things could have got better for Pirates and Maswanganyi in the early stages of the second half. Mofokeng missed a sitter from close-range before Yamkela Gamede got his marching orders after tripping Maswanganyi, who had a clear scoring opportunity.

Mabasa took the resultant free kick but his effort came off the crossbar and was cleared by Lions. Mabasa wouldn’t be denied, however. After sizzling past Lions’ defence, he hit a shot that came off the underside of the upright and into the empty net.

That goal gave the Sea Robbers and Buthelezi some breathing space, the Pirates goalkeeper having had to make two quick saves before Mabasa’s strike.

But they weren’t done. Saleng joined in on the act for his third goal in a week before Mabasa’s screamer showed their strong mental shift after Makhaula’s first-half scare.

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