12 December 2011
After missing out on the title in six previous journeys to the final, Orlando Pirates finally lifted the Telkom Knockout Cup at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday night after a 3-1 win over Bidvest Wits.
The victory continued a superb run of silverware winning form; “the Buccaneers” are also the current MTN 8, Nedbank Cup and Absa Premier League champions. It is an unprecedented achievement.
Despite that astonishing record, it was far from a certainty that Pirates would add the Telkom Knockout Cup to their trophy cabinet. Not only was history against them, but Wits had handily defeated them 3-1 recently.
It was raining in Durban, which made conditions underfoot heavy, something that clearly irritated Wits’ coach Roger De Sa, who was less than complimentary about the pitch after the game.
Pirates’ coach Julio Leal, not surprisingly, was delighted with his charges and praise rolled off his tongue after the match when he spoke to Football365.co.za.
“Congratulations for our players. We have a wonderful squad with high quality. “Thank you also for our fans, who filled the stadium tonight.
“It’s important to get this historic cup for the first time in our history, especially against top class opposition like Wits.
“Two trophies this season, together with the three last season, shows this team is good and the management is good.”
Pirates got off to a roaring start when they took the lead after only three minutes through Thulasizwe Mbuyane, which the midfielder celebrated with relish.
Daine Klate set it up by beating Lehlogonolo Maselelsa before laying on an inviting ball for Mbuyane, who was able to almost walk the ball into the net.
Ndumiso Mabena could have doubled the Buccaneers’ advantage less than 10 minutes later, but, after he had rounded Wits’ goalkeeper Energy Murambadoro, he failed to hit the target.
Wide of the mark
In the 34th minute, Benni McCarthy robbed S’boniso Gumede of the ball and raced through to force a one-on-one with Murambadoro. His curling shot was, however, wide of the mark.
Wits’ striker Sifiso Vilakazi enjoyed his side’s best chance of the first half in the 43rd minute, but his header passed wide of the goal.
Just before the break, Klate tested the goalie again with a good effort, but the Zimbabwean international was up to the task and pulled off a good save to his right.
The Students pulled level 20 minutes into the second half when captain Sifiso Myeni beat Moneeb Josephs with a shot through the Pirates’ goalkeeper’s legs after getting onto the end of a pass from the right.
The Clever Boys’ lead did not last long, however, as Klate put Pirates in front seven minutes later. After breaking inside from wide on the right, he struck a sharp left-footed shot past Murambadoro to set the Pirates-dominated crowd roaring.
Then, with less than 10 minutes to play, Pirates’ substitute Tlou Segolela made sure his wide would win when, after a super run, he set up Isaac Chansa for a third goal. Chansa finished with composure to make the final score 3-1.
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