Buccaneers Crowned Nedbank Cup Champions

Orlando Pirates have been crowned Nedbank Cup champions following their 2-1 victory over Sekhukhune United in the final played at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday night.

It’s a ninth win in the prestigious competition and a first since the 2013/14 season for the Soweto Giants, who also finish the campaign with a cup double.

They started the game rather subdued, and had only one shot at goal to show in the opening 10 minutes, which was courtesy of Kermit Erasmus, who found himself in acres of space outside the box before going just wide of the target with his effort.

The deadlock was broken at the other end of the park just 12 minutes into the contest when a lapse in concentration from the Bucs defence allowed Sibusiso Vilakazi in for the game’s opener.

Responding to the setback, Pirates could have drawn level just two minutes later when Monnapule Saleng’s ball into the box was directed off target by Erasmus.

The veteran striker came even closer to providing the equaliser halfway through the first half when his shot from just inside the penalty area was deflected onto the crossbar before Thembinkosi Lorch followed up with an attempt of his own, but was unable to pierce the sea of red shirts in the box.

It took until the stroke of halftime for the decisive moment to come, and it arrived when Lorch cleverly forced a handball inside the box off Victor Letsoalo, with the referee duly awarding a penalty.

The spot kick was taken by the man who started the game with the captain’s armband in Tapelo Xoki, who made no mistake as he sent Ali Sangare the wrong way to ensure that the two sides went to the break level on the scorecard.

Pirates were quicker off the blocks in the second half, but weren’t able to conjure up clear goal-scoring opportunities early on.

This continued until the 53rd minute when Thabang Monare chanced his arm from a long way out, sending his shot wide of the target.

This was followed up by another misdirected attempt, this time from Erasmus, whose header looped over the crossbar after being played in by Monnapule Saleng.

There were chances at the other end after the hour mark, as Nkosinathi Sibisi made two timely interceptions in quick succession as the visitors looked to restore their lead.

Just as it appeared as if the Buccaneers would have to go through another marathon encounter, some excellent interplay advanced the ball to the left flank, where Saleng delivered a cross which was directed into the net by Terrence Dzvukamanja to put the Buccaneers ahead deep in injury time.

That proved to be the most crucial moment in the game, with the final whistle sounding shortly after to confirm Pirates as the champions of the Nedbank Cup for the 2022/23 season.

Pirates XI: Chaine, Sibisi, Xoki, Monyane (Maela 78’), Mako, Monare (Ndlondlo 78’), Timm, Saleng (Hotto 90+8’), Dzvukamanja (Eva Nga 90+8’), Lorch, Erasmus (Dlamini 82’).
















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