Bucs snatch Car­ling crown

Af­ter a tense penalty shoot-out, Pi­rates take Black La­bel Cup for the fourth time – much to the de­light of thou­sands of fans

CityPress - - Sport - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI at FNB STA­DIUM ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

The 94 807 peo­ple who went through the turn­stiles at the FNB Sta­dium yesterday had a lot of fun – and beer – as they watched Or­lando Pi­rates go on to lift their fourth Car­ling Black La­bel Cup.

This of­fi­cially makes the team full-time drunk­ards. A record crowd streamed into the sta­dium. At­ten­dance lev­els beat the pre­vi­ous mark of 94 713 in 2013 when the Spring­boks played the All Blacks there. The sup­port­ers could not have asked for more. For a pre­sea­son match, this game had al­most ev­ery­thing needed in a Soweto derby, and the crowd did not stray un­til the last kick of the game.

Un­for­tu­nately, the game had to be de­cided by the lottery of penalty shoot-outs.

And, as has hap­pened in three of the past four edi­tions, Pi­rates won 4-3 on penal­ties.

The Buc­ca­neers con­firmed their drink­ing be­hav­iour by win­ning their fourth Car­ling Black La­bel Cup. It was a bit­ter pill for Chiefs to swal­low. As beer flowed freely on the stands, the Buc­ca­neers played like men pos­sessed.

They tore Chiefs apart with some neat move­ments and a won­der­ful open­ing goal by Si­fiso Myeni.

Chiefs’ sup­port­ers were ex­posed for their lack of knowl­edge about their play­ers.

And the team lacked bal­ance – par­tic­u­larly in the mid­dle of the park.

But it was a case of bet­ter late than never as they were able to rec­tify that in the sec­ond half when they called Wil­lard Kat­sande to re­place Ge­orge Maluleka.

It was only af­ter this change that Amakhosi started play­ing, and they took the game to Pi­rates.

But their choice of David Zulu up­front did not yield the ex­pected re­sults, and the striker was found want­ing.

Af­ter Kat­sande’s in­tro­duc­tion, Chiefs found their rhythm and Reneilwe Let­sholonyane lev­elled mat­ters in the 65th minute.

Un­for­tu­nately, his spot kick was saved by Brighton Mh­longo in the shoot-outs. Kee­gan Ritchie also saw his ef­fort saved. Bucs could not be faulted for their se­lec­tion as they went with the same team that coach Eric Tinkler would nor­mally choose, bar the in­juries to Ker­mit Eras­mus, Thabo Mat­laba and Rooi Ma­hamutsa.

And Bucs fans left a happy lot af­ter claim­ing brag­ging rights.

Those who made it to the game did not care about the win­ter chill and en­joyed them­selves through­out the pro­ceed­ings – then Tendai Ndoro’s penalty gave Pi­rates their fourth vic­tory in the history of the Cup.

As is the norm dur­ing a Soweto derby, it is al­ways a mis­sion to gain ac­cess to the sta­dium be­cause there is lit­tle or­der in traf­fic man­age­ment in and around the sta­dium area.

It was no dif­fer­ent yesterday as mo­torists forced their way into the no-go area, while oth­ers took chances and tried their luck to gain en­try with­out tick­ets.

De­spite the sold-out sign go­ing up more than a week ago, scores of tick­ets were avail­able on the black mar­ket with ticket touts hop­ing to cash in.

But most of them were not suc­cess­ful as sup­port­ers came with their own tick­ets to avoid last-minute dis­ap­point­ments. Now it’s time for the MTN8. Pi­rates will welcome Ajax Cape Town on Tues­day Chiefs will start their de­fence of the MTN8 at home against Mar­itzburg United on Wed­nes­day.


CHAM­PI­ONS Or­lando Pi­rates play­ers celebrate win­ning the Car­ling Black La­bel Cup over their ri­vals Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Sta­dium yesterday

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