11 February, 2023
Two second half goals saw Orlando Pirates through to the Last 16 of the Nedbank Cup as they defeated first division outfit All Stars 2-0 in their Last 32 encounter at Wits Football Stadium on Saturday night.
In tricky underfoot conditions brought on by heavy rains around the Gauteng area, the Buccaneers were out to avoid a potential banana peel first up in their bid to lift the coveted trophy for the ninth time.
The start to the encounter was not ideal for the visitors, who were forced into a change seven minutes in after an injury brought a premature end to Goodman Mosele’s evening, with Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo brought in earlier than he would have anticipated.
The stocky midfielder was not fazed however as he provided the game’s first shot at goal two minutes after coming on, but his effort went over the crossbar.
Despite enjoying most of the possession, the Soweto Giants had few opportunities at goal, with their next real chance coming after the half-hour mark through Monnapule Saleng, who forced a save off goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali with a shot from outside the box.
It appeared as if they had taken the lead in the 38th minute when Sandile Mthethwa turned the ball into the back of the net, but the Bucs defender’s celebrations were cut short by the offside flag.
The second half began with the introduction of Thembinkosi Lorch - back from a long-term injury - and the popular midfielder was immediately influential on attack.
After a couple of surges into the final third failed to yield the desired result, the breakthrough came in the 62nd minute when Terrence Dzvukamanja’s ball from the right landed into the path of Saleng, who had to compose himself before firing into the back of the net with his less-favoured right foot to make it 1-0.
The wait for the second goal was a brief one as it took the Buccaneers just nine minutes to double their lead through Lorch, who was on hand to finish a move he had started off from the middle of the park, making a goal-scoring return to action after almost six months on the sidelines.
The Bucs midfielder almost turned provider just moments later, playing in Vincent Pule, whose shot was kept out by Mtshali.
This was followed by an opportunity for Dzvukamanja, who went for goal from range but hooked his shot wide of the target.
The visitors continued to look for a third goal in the late exchanges, but two proved enough as they marched on to the Nedbank Cup Round of 16.
Pirates XI: Chaine, Xoki, Mthethwa, Mako, Mosele (Ndlondlo 7’), Timm (Makhaula 85’), Martin (Monyane 70’), Hotto (Pule 70’), Dlamini (Lorch 46’), Saleng, Dzvukamanja.