THOHOYANDOU, January 27 – Black Leopards emerged 5-4 penalty victors over Orlando Pirates after their thrilling Nedbank Cup last-32 tie had been locked at 1-1 after extra time at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday evening.
In a match in which both sides created regular scoring chances in front of a full house in the Limpopo Province, Lidoda Duvha’s bravery and commitment against their more illustrious opponents was ultimately rewarded with a place in the last-16.
Both teams scored in the first half; Justin Shonga putting the Buccaneers ahead of the half hour mark before Leopards hit back through Mwape Musonda shortly after.
The home side were full of confidence and energy in the opening stages of the game, and after a great build-up involving several players in the 14th minute, Musonda looked set to pounce when he latched onto a Lefa Hlongwane cross, but the shot flew over the bar.
Pirates hadn’t done much to threaten the home defence, yet it was the visitors who were to draw first blood when Shonga fired in a low free kick into the bottom corner from out on the left hand side on 31 minutes.
It was harsh on Leopards to go behind, but it wasn’t for long as they struck back just seven minutes later when Musonda got just enough on his volley from Pentjie Zulu’s superb cross to beat Bucs keeper Jackson Mabokgwane.
The Zambian could have added another goal soon after, but fired into the side-netting, while at the other end Shonga wasted a glorious chance to put the Sea Robbers ahead just before the break when he shot over the bar from only seven yards out.
The Soweto side started the second half well and were close to scoring, when Vincent Pule narrowly missed the target with a snap shot from 20-yards out.
At the other end, Musonda also had a good opportunity. It was Bucs though who looked more like getting a winner and it took two world class saves from home keeper King Ndlovu on Thembinkosi Lorch and Paseka Mako to keep the score at 1-1 as the game neared the end of regulation time.
Shonga could have wrapped it up for Pirates in the 88th minute, but after a storming run he fired into the side-netting.
The hosts came out firing in the first period of extra time but just couldn’t find a winner as Lehlogonolo Masalesa, Hlongwane, Karabo Tshepe and Tshwarelo Bereng all went close.
The second half of extra time failed to produce any clear-cut opportunities, during which time Masalesa was given his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card in the 115th minute.
Leopards started the penalty shoot-out on the back foot when Musonda blasted over the bar. But two fine saves from Ndlovu on Kudakwashe Mahachi and Alfred Ndengane enabled Joseph Mhlongo to fire home the decider.
In another game Cape Town City extended their unbeaten run against SuperSport United to six games after they ran out comfortable 2-0 winners in a Nedbank Cup last-32 clash at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
A first half header by Thato Mokeke against his former employers and a second half strike by Thamsanqa Mkhize saw the Citizens through to victory in a game in which they were in command for most of the night.
While SuperSport struggled to get going and barely threatened in attack, City looked dangerous in the first half and had good chances to score through Gift Links and Matthew Rusike, before an unmarked Mokeke headed home a well-taken goal from an Ayanda Patosi corner on 36 minutes.
Benni McCarthy’s team had played some excellent football and were deservedly 1-0 up at the break.
It continued after the restart and the Cape side were almost further ahead on 50 minutes when a brilliant through ball from Teko Modise put Craig Martin in, but visiting keeper Ronwen Williams did well to make the save.
The second goal was, however, soon in arriving, Mkhize slotting home from 15-yards out in the 56th minute after a deft back-heel from Patosi had set up the strike perfectly.
For a while it looked as though the Tshwane outfit might muster a fight-back as Bradley Grobler had a couple of half-chances. But although Matsatsantsa were to put in a succession of crosses into the box, City’s defence was always in control as they played out the final minutes without looking likely to concede.
Results of the Nedbank Cup last-32 round matches on Saturday.
Tjakastad Junior Shepherds 0 Golden Arrows 3
Cape Town Stadium:
Cape Town City FC 2 SuperSport United 0
Black Leopards 1 Orlando Pirates 1 (Leopards won 5-4 on penalties)
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium:
Chippa United 2 Mamelodi Sundowns 1
Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium:
Umvoti FC 1 TS Galaxy 3
Free State Stars 1 Richards Bay 2
African News Agency (ANA)