Pi­rates over­whelm Amakhosi in scin­til­lat­ing TKO semis en­counter

Justin Shonga seals it for Bucs with killer strike

Sunday World - - Sport - By Sazi Hadebe

Justin Shonga de­liv­ered an­other killer blow to Kaizer Chiefs’ luke­warm start to the 2018-19 sea­son when Or­lando Pi­rates scored a 2-1 vic­tory in the Telkom Knock­out semi­fi­nal at Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium in Dur­ban yes­ter­day.

Shonga got the price­less win­ner six min­utes from time in an ab­sorb­ing match. The Zam­bian goal poacher fin­ished Bucs’ per­sis­tent at­tack when the game looked like it was head­ing for ex­tra time, with the two Soweto gi­ants locked in a 11 first-half stale­mate.

Shonga’s win­ner sees the Buc­ca­neers, who are gun­ning for their first tro­phy in four years, wait­ing for the win­ner of to­day’s en­counter be­tween the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Bid­vest Wits and Baroka for a fi­nal which will be played in Port El­iz­a­beth next month.

Pi­rates had come here with a slight psy­cho­log­i­cal ad­van­tage af­ter win­ning the last two league matches played in Jo­han­nes­burg in March to­wards the end of last sea­son, and in Oc­to­ber, in what was a humdinger of a league derby.

Played in over­cast but hu­mid Dur­ban weather, the sold-out game al­ways promised to de­liver a fan­tas­tic show for the fans, with over 50,000 gen­eral tick­ets hav­ing been snapped up within two hours of go­ing on sale weeks be­fore kick-off.

In­ter­est­ingly, both men­tors made a few telling changes to their start­ing line-ups com­pared with the teams they started with in the league derby in Oc­to­ber.

The most eye-catch­ing was Bucs coach Mi­lutin Sre­do­je­vic’s de­ci­sion to make four changes, among them Jack­son Mabokg­wane in goal in­stead of reg­u­lar shot-stop­per Siyabonga Mpontshane.

Chiefs coach Gio­vanni Soli­nas also tweaked his start­ing XI, with Le­bo­hang Manyama and Ge­orge Maluleka tak­ing Bernard Parker and Siphelele Nt­shangase’s roles re­spec­tively.

It was Chiefs who looked bet­ter in the heated early ex­changes with Khama Bil­liat un­lucky to see his de­light­ful chip tipped away from dan­ger by Mabokg­wane in the eighth minute af­ter he had com­bined well with Du­misani Zungu on the left flank.

But the Buc­ca­neers did well to find the lead against the run of play in the 12th minute, with Them­binkosi Lorch giv­ing Itume­leng Khune not even the slight­est of chances to save his strike, which kissed the roof of the net af­ter con­nect­ing with a smart cross from fel­low winger on the right, Vin­cent Pule.

The Bucs’ lead, how­ever, didn’t last be­yond five min­utes, as Chiefs’ pres­sure paid off when Leonardo Cas­tro pounced on Bil­liat’s teas­ing de­fence-split­ting pass to chip it over a slowly ad­vanc­ing Mabokg­wane to level mat­ters in the first 20 min­utes of the game.

The sec­ond pe­riod was not played with the fran­tic pace of the first, but both teams cre­ated a few open­ings that could have turned the game on its head.

■Other re­sults

Banyana Banyana 1, Zam­bia 1

/ Anesh De­biky/Gallo Im­ages

Vin­cent Pule of Or­lando Pi­rates and Wil­lard Kat­sande of Kaizer Chiefs fight for the ball dur­ing the Telkom Knock­out semi­fi­nal match at Moses Mab­hida Sta­dium in Dur­ban yes­ter­day.

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