Orlando Pirates Crowned 2022 MTN 8 Champions

Orlando Pirates have been crowned MTN 8 champions for 2022 after claiming a 1-0 win over AmaZulu in the final played in front of a sellout crowd at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.

The victory sees the Soweto Giants reclaim the title which they had won at the same venue in 2020, making it their 11th win overall in Top-Eight competition.

From the very first minute, the Buccaneers were forced to shuffle things around after defender Nkosinathi Sibisi had to be withdrawn due to a calf injury following a challenge from Gabadinho Mhango. This meant that he could not take any further part in the contest, Paseka Mako was brought on in his place.

That proved to be the theme for much of the first half, which consisted of many injury stoppages and limited clear-cut chances at goal for either side.

The Buccaneers did however have a close shout 12 minutes in, with Thabiso Monyane curling a ball in towards goal, which almost snuck in under the crossbar and was kept out by a fine save from AmaZulu shot-stopper Veli Mothwa.

Richard Ofori’s goal came under threat for the first time in the 21st minute when Mhango made a run on the left flank and was halted by an excellent sweeping clearance from Tapelo Xoki.

The decisive moment came four minutes later and it was from a set-piece situation, where Monnapule Saleng went direct from a tight angle and found the back of the net to make it 1-0.

The Buccaneers kept the intensity after taking the lead, and were denied clear-cut opportunities at goal by clever defending from Usuthu.

The Durban outfit almost drew level at the stroke of halftime when Mhango beat Ofori and was thwarted by Olisa Ndah, who scrambled across to make a clearance.

Usuthu came out from the tunnel with some purpose in search of the equaliser, and Xoki was on hand to make another vital stop as he came between Lehlohonolo Majoro and what looked like a sure goal in the 49th minute.

Pirates responded by pushing forward, with Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo freeing himself up for a shot from range and only succeeding in finding Mothwa’s gloves.

Most of the action in the second period was in the Bucs half, with the majority of the visitors’ chances coming from set-pieces.

Ofori was in top form, diving low to his left to keep out a header from Mbongeni Gumede in the 58th minute before denying the same player ten minutes later.

AmaZulu kept peppering the Pirates goal, but resolute defence kept the Soweto Giants ahead.

Saleng could have doubled the lead five minutes from the final whistle when he emerged from the middle, sending a shot towards Mothwa, who parried the ball into safety.

The rest of the encounter was all about the Buccaneers hanging on, and they did so successfully to take home yet another MTN 8 title.

Pirates XI: Ofori, Ndah, Sibisi (Mako 5’), Xoki, Monyane (Shandu 46’), Hotto, Motshwari, Timm, Ndlondlo (Eva Nga 88’), Saleng (Dlamini 88’), Erasmus (Pule 75’).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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