Orlando Pirates avoided a ‘cupset’ with a 2-0 triumph over second-tier All Stars in a Nedbank Cup last 32 match at the Bidvest Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday evening.
The Buccaneers booked their spot in the next round thanks to second-half strikes from Monnapule Saleng and Thembinkosi Lorch, as their class and persistence ultimately overwhelmed the well-organised but toothless Motsepe Foundation Championship team.
Pirates suffered an early injury blow, with Goodman Mosele replaced by Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo inside the opening 10 minutes, yet that did not disrupt their dominance of possession in the opening quarter of the match.
Stars saw relatively little of the ball, but their solidity in defence and a rapier-like pace on the counter attack ensured that they did not allow a gradual pressure to build. In fact, the second-tier team began to see more of the ball just before the half-hour mark and had a couple of threatening moments via Sabelo Nyembe and Justice Figareido.
On 38 minutes the Buccaneers thought they had claimed the lead via Sandile Mthethwa, who bundled the ball over the goal line after meeting a free kick delivery from the right, but the defender was correctly flagged offside.
The first half closed with the score still locked at 0-0 – and neither goalkeeper had been called on to make any truly notable saves.
Pirates made a change at the start of the second half which saw the return of Thembinkosi Lorch from a lengthy absence. He replaced Kabelo Dlamini in a change which boosted the attack.
The visitors were duly much more incisive and almost claimed the lead on 55 minutes, with Ndlondlo forcing a sharp save from Stars goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali, before a follow-up effort from Terrence Dzvukamanja struck the woodwork.
A breakthrough seemed inevitable and duly arrived for Bucs just a couple of minutes after the hour mark: Dzvukamanja did great work down the left and played in a low cross to find Monnapule Saleng, who had to scramble to find a path for his shot through a crowded goal-mouth, but duly sent the ball into the back of the net.
Pirates soon had head coach Jose Riveiro sent off, presumably for dissent from the sidelines, but they claimed a second goal on 71 minutes to take a stranglehold of the game, with Lorch firing home left-footed drive from the centre of the box to finish a sweeping move which he originally set in motion.
That strike effectively ended the match as a contest, with the Soweto giants able to see out the remainder of the game in relative comfort and ensure that they joined Mamelodi Sundowns, Marumo Gallants, Dondol Stars, Sekhukhune United, Cape Town Spurs, Kaizer Chiefs, Golden Arrows, Stellenbosch FC, Venda Academy and Mpheni Home Defenders in the next round (with five further spots still up for grabs).
Stars will be back in Motsepe Foundation Championship action on Sunday 19 February when they host Pretoria University, while Pirates’ next DStv Premiership match will be at home to Maritzburg United on Friday 17 February.
All Stars 0
Orlando Pirates (0) 2 (Saleng 62’, Lorch 71’)
All Stars: A. Mtshali, Makobela, Modise, Sesane, Baartman, Komane (Mphuthi 82’), Baloni, L. Mtshali, Nyembe (Ndwandwe 81’), Mofokeng (Makgalwa 64’), Figareido (Hoala 82’)
Orlando Pirates:Chaine, Mthethwa, Xoki, Mako, Martin (Monyane 70’), Mosele (Ndlondlo 7’), Timm (Makhaula 85’), Dlamini (Lorch 46’), Saleng, Hotto (Pule 70’), Dzvukamanja
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