9 July, 2022
A valiant finish was not enough to secure Orlando Pirates Reserves a spot in the last four of the DStv Diski Shield, as they crashed out of the DStv Diski Shield after a 2-1 defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns in their quarter-final clash at Wits University Stadium on Saturday.
The two rivals met for the first time in knockout football after producing ten goals across their two encounters in league football in the just-concluded campaign.
The first 45 minutes went down without affecting the scoreboard, but each side had enjoyed a few chances at goal without making the opportunity count.
Sundowns could have made it 1-0 with their first attack of the contest if not for Bucs keeper Ephraim Mothibedi, whose spatial awareness cut off what looked like a sure goal in the first minute.
The Buccaneers were in for their first chance at goal soon after, but Lucky Bule’s shot from a fair distance out went well wide of the goal posts.
Their first shot at target came through striker Mehluleli Maphumulo, whose header from the edge of the penalty area was comfortably held by the keeper.
However, most of the attacking play in the first half came from the men in yellow, who induced a few nervy moments in the Bucs camp, but were thwarted by some good defensive play from the likes of Ofentse Mothapo and his skipper Morapedi Ralenkoane, along with Mothibedi who kept things deadlocked going into the break.
The second half began much like the first, with Mothibedi called upon early after the ref had blown for kick-off. The Bucs shot-stopper was again on top of things, making an easy save in the 48th minute to keep the Tshwane outfit out.
A stroke of luck brought about the first goal of the game in the 59th minute, as Mothibedi did everything right in keeping out a long ball towards his goal, only for the ball to bounce twice on the crossbar on its way to Cassius Mailula, who nodded the ball into the net to put Sundowns ahead.
A miserable afternoon continued for the Bucs Reserves, who found themselves trailing by two goals with less than 20 minutes left on the clock as Mailula doubled his tally in the encounter with another strike.
The last few minutes belonged to Pirates, who had to wait until well into injury time before pulling one back as second-half substitute Mohau Nkota’s ball into the box was deflected into the back of the net by a Sundowns player to make it 2-1.
The late resurgence was however far from enough, with Sundowns holding firm to emerge winners on the day as they progressed to the next round of the competition.
Pirates Reserves XI: Mothibedi, Spandiel, Ngiba, Ralenkoane, Mothapo, Mndebele, Bule, Khoto (Ndaba 78’), Matjeni (Mdunge 55’), Ndlozi, Maphumulo (Nkota 67’).
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