Sports/27 May 2023,21:35pm/ Staff Writer
By Staff Writer: Orlando Pirates have been crowned 2022/2023 Nedbank Cup champions after coming from behind to defeat Sekhukhune United 2-1 on Saturday night.
The Buccaneers recalled Thembinkosi Lorch, Thabiso Monyane, Thabang Monre and Miguel Timm after the win over AmaZulu last weekend, while Brandon Truter brought Victor Letsoalo to join Ohizu in the Sekhukhune attack.
Sekhukhune got off to the perfect start and opened the scoring after 12 minutes, with Sibusiso Vilakazi pouncing on a loose ball in the box to fire into the far corner.
The Buccaneers did go close to pulling themselves level in the 21st minute when a goal-mouth scramble in the box ended with Kermit Erasmus’ powerful strike deflecting onto the crossbar.
Jose Riveiro’s charges continued to dominate as the first half continued, but they found it tough to get any joy in the final third, with both Monnapule Saleng and Lorch being kept quiet by the Sekhukhune defenders.
Pirates were given a lifeline on the stroke of halftime when Letsoalo was deemed to have handled in the box. Thapelo Xoki stepped up and calmly slotted home to send the sides level into the break.
Truter, who was visibly upset before heading to the tunnel, made a change at the start of the second half as Sammy Seabi made way for Vusumzi Mncube, who was on target the last time Sekhukhune defeat Pirates last year. It was more of the same in the second period as Sekhukhune were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure, as they continued to deny Saleng and Lorch any space in the final third.
With Pirates struggling to break Sekhukhune down, Riveiro made a double change on 77 minutes as Innocent Maela and Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo replaced Monyane and Monare respectively.
With the game seemingly headed for extra-time, Pirates popped up with the winning goal in the fifth minute of time added on thanks to an instinctive finish from Terrence Dzvukamanja to seal their second cup of the campaign.
Here’s how they lined up:
Orlando Pirates: 34. Chaine, 2. Monyane, 5. Sibisi, 27. Xoki, 29. Mako, 16. Monare, 4. Timm, 14. Saleng, 37. Dzvukamanja, 3. Lorch, 95. Erasmus
Subs: 40. Mpontshane, 23. Maela, 39. Mthethwa, 18. Dlamini, 6. Motshwari, 11. Hotto, 14. Ndlondlo, 9. Eva Nga, 38. Ratomo
Sekhukhune United: 30. Sangare, 2. Mobbie, 36. Ntiya-Ntiya, 4. Cardoso, 39. Gyimah, 24. Mokotjo, 17. Mokwana, 18. Seabi, 34. Ohizu, 50. Vilakazi, 21. Letsoalo
Subs: 32. Mtsweni, 27. Mkhabela, 43. Zulu, 29. Tshibwabwa, 35. Mahlangu, 6. Mashikinya, 7. Mncube, 9. Mabasa, 12. Morris