Sunday World (South Africa)

Saleng gets Happy People singing their lungs out

Solitary goal lands the Buccaneers R8m cheque

- By Kgomotso Mokoena

After last week’s heart-breaking defeat in the Soweto derby, Orlando Pirates finally gave their supporters something to smile about after they defeated AmaZulu 1-0 and lifted the MTN8 trophy at Moses Mabhida Stadium last night.

Again, Bucs’ rising star Monnapule Saleng justified his callup to Bafana Bafana with a delicious goal. He scored the only goal of the match with a curling free-kick that left Amazulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa seeing the stars in the first half.

The game got off to a flying start with Pirates intent on getting an early goal but they found Amazulu in an uncompromi­sing mood. Usuthu dished out dangerous tackles and as early as the first minute, Gabadinho Mhango unleashed a career-threatenin­g challenge on Nkosinathi Sibisi, who was stretchere­d off with only one touch in the match. Mhango was playing against his former club and he had a point to prove.

He was lucky referee Luxolo Badi did not caution him.

Amazulu continued with their physical streak on the Pirates players and it was evident that it was part of their strategy.

Pirates had suffered a major setback when captain Innocent Maela was forced to miss out due to injury. The lanky defender hurt his groin in the Soweto derby against Kaizer Chiefs last week.

Before the game, the Buccaneers’ cup final record was not something to brag about. In their last 11 cup finals, they had won two trophies: the Nedbank Cup in 2014 and the MTN8 two years ago. They went into the game eager and keen to win their third, and delivered.

Usuthu have been clinical since the tournament started. They first dispatched of Cape Town City in the quarterfin­als before frustratin­g and knocking out Chiefs in the two-legged semifinals.

In the second half, Usuthu pressed for the equaliser and gave Bucs some anxious moments but the Pirates defence, marshalled by Olisa Ndah, kept their strikers at bay.

Bucs will pocket a cool R8-million while the runners-up Usuthu will receive a R800 000 cheque.

 ?? /Gallo Images ?? Bucs players lift the R8-million MTN8 Cup after beating Amazulu last night in Durban.
/Gallo Images Bucs players lift the R8-million MTN8 Cup after beating Amazulu last night in Durban.

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