PIRATES END MARITZBURG’S CUP HOPES
27 February 2021
Orlando Pirates scored three unanswered second half goals to clinch a 3-1 Nedbank Cup last 16 win over Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday evening.
The game was probably closer than the scoreline suggested - both teams had their chances, but Bucs were especially clinical in a 20 minute period in the second stanza.
Maritzburg had started the game with a lot of intensity, showing good focus and commitment.
And after Riyaaz Ismail went close to bundling in a Thabiso Kutumela corner, the Team of Choice drew first blood in the ninth minute.
Sibusiso Hlubi was heavily involved as he chased down a Pirates backpass, causing panic in the Bucs defence. This allowed Bongokuhle Hlongwane to dispossess goalkeeper Richard Ofori of the ball, leaving Kutumela with the fairly straightforward task of scoring in an empty net from 25-yards out.
Pirates looked to strike back but didn't really threaten the home goal much, apart from an effort by Deon Hotto which was well dealt with by Marcel Engelhardt while there was a header from Happy Jele which flew over.
United though continued to compete well and they had another chance on 30 minutes when Hlongwane’s looped header was tipped over the bar by Ofori.
Maritzburg also started on the front foot after the half time break and had more openings, but the scoreline remained the same as Travis Graham's sizzling volley was caught by Ofori, while Kutumela as unable to get his effort from a tight angle on target, under pressure from two opponents.
But then the Team of Choice suffered a double blow in two minutes as Pirates scored twice.
The first was struck by Kabelo Dlamini, whose curling effort from the edge of the area beat Engelhardt after taking a deflection off Clayton Daniels.
The second was from Hotto, who slid the ball over the line from close range after Linda Mntambo had made ground down the right wing.
Maritzburg fought hard for a way back in and created several chances, including one from Jose Meza as he unleashed a long-range piledriver which drew an acrobatic save from Ofori on his former home ground.
Kutumela also went close when his free kick deflected marginally wide.
It wasn’t to be the Team of Choice’s night however as Pule struck the third goal in the 78th minute, converting from close range on the rebound following Dlamini’s initial shot.
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