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
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