Bucs U18 Unbeaten on Engen KO Challenge Opening Day

Orlando Pirates Under-18 finished the opening day of the 2023 Engen Knockout Challenge unbeaten, following their two fixtures in the opening day of the competition held at Marks Park Sports Club on Friday.

The young Buccaneers concluded the day on a high after a dramatic 1-0 victory over Dlamini XI Experience in their second Group B fixture, which took their tally to four points following a draw in their earlier fixture.

Needing to win to remain in the hunt for a spot in the knockout rounds, the Soweto Giants came out guns blazing early on against the men in red, with Aphelele Nzimande and Tshepo Mhlambi both firing wide before Samukelo Zikalala forced a save off the keeper with a brilliant curling effort.

They continued to dominate proceedings, but without reward, with their opponents content with closing up shop for much of the opening half.

The second half continued much in the same vein, as Nzimande and Kai Haskell both failed to find the target from range, and it seemed as if things would remain goalless until the game’s closing moments.

The decisive moment came just four minutes away from the final whistle as a result of sustained pressure, with Mhlambi providing the crucial strike in spectacular fashion when he volleyed in from the right hand side of the field after XI Experience failed to clear their lines following a set piece.

It proved to be what the Bucs U18 needed to clinch maximum points, taking their tally to four ahead of the crucial second day of the competition.

Earlier, Pirates were held to a goalless draw by Rosina Sedibane Sports School in their opening Group B fixture.

This was despite each side managing to find the back of the net, only for the offside flag to have the final say on each occasion.

The young Buccaneers will face off against School Excellence in their next fixture, which kicks off at 8:00 on Saturday morning.


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