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Orlando Pirates Sail Past Hungry Lions Into Nedbank Cup Quarters

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Orlando Pirates Sail Past Hungry Lions Into Nedbank Cup Quarters

Orlando Pirates vs Hungry Lions | Nedbank Cup

In a match marred by a red card and a serious medical scare, Orlando Pirates dominated proceedings at the Orlando Stadium to claim a 4-0 victory over Hungry Lions on Saturday evening, punching their ticket to the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup.

Despite a not-so-convincing start, the Soweto giants managed to capitalise on a string of second-half opportunities to outplay the spirited Northern Cape outfit, which struggled to convert their early aggressive tactics into a favourable outcome.

Orlando Pirates Sail Past Hungry Lions Into Nedbank Cup Quarters
Orlando Pirates Sail Past Hungry Lions Into Nedbank Cup Quarters

The match took a pivotal turn when Morena Monaheng, the Lions defender, inadvertently steered the ball into his own net, giving the Buccaneers a lead they would not relinquish. “It was a tough moment for Morena, but that’s football – sometimes you’re the hero, sometimes the villain,” remarked a Hungry Lions spokesperson about the own goal that put Pirates ahead in the 21st minute.

Orlando Pirates’ fortunes didn’t stop there, as their opponent’s vigor could not find the back of the net. A pivotal moment of reprieve for the Buccaneers came when a counterattack led by the Lions saw Raymond Daniels’ strike land safely in the arms of Pirates goalkeeper Melusi Buthelezi.

The Buccaneers witnessed a distressing moment when Makhehleni Makhaula was stretchered off with a serious medical issue, leading to a pause in play and Thalente Mbatha taking to the field in place of the injured star.

The game’s complexion changed just before the hour mark with the dismissal of Lions’ S’Bongakonke Gamede for a last-man foul on Patrick Maswanganyi, leaving the Lions a man down. “The red card was a game-changer, undoubtedly,” admitted a Lions’ coach after witnessing his side reduced to 10 men.

Tshegofatso Mabasa soon became the man of the moment, first rattling the crossbar with a free-kick and then, in the 66th minute, slipping the ball past the keeper with a “scuffed finish which went in via the inside of the post.” A Lions’ defender commented, “Tshego’s finish might not have been the cleanest, but it did the job.”

Monnapule Saleng later added a third goal for the Pirates — a remarkable finish that saw the player weave past a defender and strike home expertly, effectively dousing any remnants of hope for the visiting team. Saleng himself said after the match, “Feels great to contribute to the win. We knew we had to be patient and the goals would come.”

As the match wound down, it was Mabasa who again found himself at the right place at the right time, hammering in a sensational volley to complete his brace and the 4-0 scoreline in injury time.

Looking ahead, both teams are set to refocus on their respective leagues; Pirates are geared to lock horns with Sekhukhune United in the DStv Premiership, while Hungry Lions are preparing to host JDR Stars in the Motsepe Foundation Championship.

With their eyes set on the Nedbank Cup prize, the Pirates’ collective performance suggests they are a formidable force as the competition enters its business end, whilst Hungry Lions, despite their exit, have displayed the heart and tenacity that signals promise for their future encounters.

Orlando Pirates (1) 4 (Monaheng og 21’, Mabasa 66’ 90+5’, Saleng 72’)
Hungry Lions 0

Pirates: Buthelezi, Monyane, Xoki (Mthethwa 79’), Sibisi, Maela (Hotto 65’), Makhaula (Mbatha 45+2’), Timm (Dlamini 65’), Mofokeng, Saleng, Maswanganyi (Kapinga 79’), Mabasa

Lions: Baadjies, Monaheng, Gamede, Mogotlane (Makhubela 79’), Peters, Khotso, Masisi (Mahapa 79’), Daniels (Tau 82’), Dondolo (Vaaltyn 79’), Modise, Pitso (Khanyi 64’)

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