19 May 2014
Having lost in three cup finals earlier in the season, Orlando Pirates finally ended on the winning side when they defeated Bidvest Wits 3-1 in the Nedbank Cup final at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
In a bitterly contested match, the Buccaneers had to come back from a goal down to claim the silverware.
Jabulani Shongwe gave the Students the lead just before the half-hour mark, thumping the ball home after receiving a pass from Sthembiso Ngcobo on the left, inside Pirates’ penalty area.
It then took the Soweto-based club until the 52nd minute to equalise and the goal was somewhat fortunate. Kermit Erasmus, after losing his marker in the Wits’ penalty area, netted from a deflected shot, which wrong-footed goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs, after Kwanda Mngonyama’s block on the shot changed the direction of the strike.
Eleven minutes later, Pirates hit the front. Oupa Manyisa sent in a cross from the right and Sifiso Myeni provided the finish, poking the ball across the line.
Erasmus then ensured Pirates’ victory in the 72nd minute by firing the ball past Josephs after Manyisa had made a hash of the striker’s pass to him.
‘It was long overdue’
After the game, Manyisa told the Orlando Pirates’ website: “It was long overdue. I think in all other finals we played, we were just unfortunate not to have won them. We will have a break with less pressure. Now we know we have the right attitude to go to the MTN8 Cup next season.”
“We came here on a mission. I don’t think we played well, but we fought,” said goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa. “
Wits gave us problems, especially in the first half where they enjoyed more possession and played really well.
“I said it in previous interviews that this team is used to playing under pressure and today you could see that pressure didn’t take our focus away.
“We reacted well after being a goal down and that is what kept us going. We won the match and have a trophy in our cabinet and we are really happy for that.”
‘They were robbed’
Bidvest Wits’ coach Gavin Hunt was far from happy with the outcome and the refereeing. “There is not much to say. The players are distraught. They were robbed,” he said in a post-match interview.
“The officiating today was disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful, and we are distraught about that.
“We had a lot of chances, but at the end of the day you can’t play like that. We never got a fair shake.”
The victory was only the third for Pirates, one of South Africa’s most successful clubs, since the competition began in 1978.