12 March, 2023
Orlando Pirates prevailed in a marathon Nedbank Cup Round of 16 clash against Venda Football Academy, as they clinched a 2-1 win to secure a spot in the quarterfinals.
An extra 30 minutes had to be added to the contest after the two sides finished the first 90 level at a goal apiece.
The hosts started the game controlling possession inside the opening 10 minutes, pinning the visitors inside their own half, but only had a few wayward shots from range to show for their early dominance.
The deadlock could have been broken in the 11th minute after some neat interplay between Kermit Erasmus and Deon Hotto, with the latter gathering a clever chip inside the box, only to blast wide.
The duo connected once more 13 minutes later, with the roles reversed this time around, and that provided the breakthrough as Hotto’s cross was turned into the net by Erasmus, who headed in at the near post.
Venda almost hit back moments later through their first real opportunity, which was provided by Rudzani Thobo, whose header went narrowly wide of the target.
They kept making surges into the Bucs half, and goalkeeper Sipho Chaine had to intervene with a fine save in the 32nd minute when Edmore Chirambadare fired at goal from close range.
Miguel Timm had a go from a fair distance out at the other end and only succeeded in sending his effort just over the bar in the 35th minute. However, the Buccaneers were starved of clear-cut chances as halftime approached.
The search for a second goal resumed as soon as the second half whistle sounded, with halftime substitute Terrence Dzvukamanja drawing a save from Venda keeper Harold Ndlovu with a firmly-struck shot from range.
The goal would however come at the opposite end as Hotto’s attempt at a clearance deep inside his own half allowed Chirambadare in for the equaliser three minutes into the second period.
Buoyed by the goal, the visitors sought to make life difficult for the Buccaneers as they constantly advanced into their territory.
Things could have turned disastrous for the hosts in the 69th minute when Chirambadare managed to head towards goal from a corner, but was denied by an excellent goal-line clearance from Nkosinathi Sibisi.
The Soweto Giants responded with a swift move up field, where Thembinkosi Lorch was able to rattle the upright with a beautiful curling shot with Dzvukamanja unable to gather the rebound as Venda’s defence scrambled back.
The visitors’ defence stood resolute as the clock wound down, with Pirates unable to make any headway, and the game headed into extra time after it remained 1-1 after 90 minutes.
The first period of extra time went by with minimal clear-cut chances at goal, despite the Buccaneers’ attempts to capitalise on the Limpopo outfit’s tiring legs.
Seven minutes away from a possible penalty shootout, a moment of magic from Lorch brough Pirates back in front as he got on the end of a clever flick from Evidence Makgopa before directing the ball into the back of the net.
The late goal proved enough for the home side, who were largely untroubled in the game’s final moments as they hung on for a hard-fought victory.
Pirates XI: Chaine, Xoki, Sibisi, Mako, Hotto (Monyane 63’), Timm, Ndlondlo (Makaringe 90’), Dlamini (Pule 63’), Saleng (Motshwari 108’), Lorch, Erasmus (Dzvukamanja 46’).