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Pirates crush Stars to reach final

Posted on Saturday, May 14, 2016 - 18:23

Luvoyo Memela scored two goals and created another as Orlando Pirates booked their place in the Nedbank Cup final with a thrilling 4-2 win over hosts Free State Stars at Goble Park in Bethlehem on a wet Saturday afternoon.

The Buccaneers put in a composed and intelligent performance against a determined Ea Lla Koto outfit to book their place in the final and give themselves a shot at claiming their ninth National Cup title.

Pirates established a 2-0 lead in a first half which was a fast-paced and entertaining affair in the cool and slick conditions in Bethlehem. The visitors opened the scoring 24 minutes in when Lucky Mohomi scored an unfortunate own goal from Luvoyo Memela’s free kick.

Fourteen minutes later Memela himself found the back of the net to double the lead, taking advantage of a lucky bounce before firing a right-footed shot which arguably should have been saved by Stars goalkeeper Johnny Mathole.

Pirates dominated the first stanza and were worthy leaders, but Ea Lla Koto did have chances of their own: Brighton Mhlongo had to come up with two good saves in the 18th and 29th minutes to keep out efforts from Mohomi and Danny Venter respectively.

Stars started the second half strongly and almost pulled a goal back on 53 minutes through Mohomi, who was unlucky to see his grasscutter shot rebound off the inside of the upright after having the beating of Mhlongo.

Just two minutes later Ea Lla Koto finally got the goal their attacking efforts deserved: with Pirates unable to clear from a free kick, Ayanda Nkosi fired home in a crowded box from close range to make it 2-1.

The Free State side was the dominant force in the second half, forcing the Buccaneers to retreat further and further in defence as the match wore on, but the away side did put together some good attacks on the counter, most notably when Mpho Makola almost killed the game off in the 84th minute, but his rifled shot rebounded off the post.

A minute later Memela capped his fine performance with a second goal to finally end Stars’ hopes. A messy build-up saw Memela show his class and composure to simply pass the ball into the net to make it 3-1.

Further pain arrived for Stars in the final minute of regulation time when substitute Thamsanqa Gabuza took advantage of a rebound off Mathole to fire home his side’s fourth – before childishly goading his own supporters.

The best goal of the game was left for last, with Mohomi firing home a stunning shot from a free kick to make it 4-2 in the second minute of injury time, though it proved to be nothing more than a consolation for the downtrodden hosts.

Free State Stars (0) 2 (Nkosi 55’, Mohomi 90+2’)

Orlando Pirates (2) 4 (Mohomi og 24’, Memela 38’ 85’, Gabuza 90’)

Stars: Mathole, Mashego (Sekola 76’), Masehe, Chabalala, Tlhone, Jafhta, Kerspuy, Makhaula (Vilakazi 45+2’), Venter (Nkausu 48’), Nkosi, Mohomi

Pirates: Mhlongo, Nyauza, Gyimah, Gcaba, Matlaba, Rakhale, Sarr, Makola (Jele 87’), Memela, Myeni, Ndoro (Gabuza 88’)

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