Orlando Pirates Highlands Park Telkom Knockout quarter-final report
Posted: 5 November 2016 Time: 19:12
Orlando Pirates won their first game this season without Muhsin Ertugral after beating Highlands Park 2-1 in the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals on Saturday.
Caretaker coach Augusto Palacios took charge in the dugout for Bucs assisted by Bradley Carnell and Benson Mhlongo following Ertugral's midweek resignation.
But as early as the third minute the Lions of the North showed their intent not to lie down as Mothobi Mvala's header from a corner was cleared off the line by Oupa Manyisa, and in the 15th minute Thanduyise Khuboni tested Brighton Mlhongo with a curling shot which he did well to save.
The best chances of the first half arrived in the 27th and 30th minutes. First it was Memela for Bucs who missed a glorious chance to head home from six yards out following Tendai Ndoro's pinpoint cross, then three minutes later Collins Mbesuma missed a header from closer than six yards.
However, Pirates took the lead in the 40th minute when Augustine Mbara scored an own-goal from Luvuyo Memela's inswinging free-kick from the right, heading past his own goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini.
The lead was doubled just before the hour-mark when Tendai Ndoro finished at close range following a perfect square-ball from Mpho Makola from the right side of the penalty area.
Mvala pulled a goal back just six minutes later to keep Park's hopes alive with a textbook header back across Mhlongo from Kgomotso Koena's right-wing cross as Gordon Igesund's side made a real fist of it.
The final 20 minutes of the match was an exciting, end-to-end affair as both sides attacked all-out, giving the Orlando Stadium crowd a thrilling finale as both Thabo Matlaba and Mbesuma hit the woodwork.
Matlaba missed a sitter in the 78th minute when Thabo Rakhale laid it on a plate for the unmarked full-back, with the whole goal to aim at, but his finish hit the left upright.
Mbesuma was unlucky in the 88th minute when his instinctive side-foot attempt hit the bottom of the post with Mhlongo scrambling.
Orlando Pirates: Mhlongo, Sikhakhane, Gyimah, Chabalala, Matlaba, Sarr, Manyisa, Makola, Rakhale (Shitolo 82'), Memela (Norodien 75'), Ndoro
Highlands Park: Kapini, Mbara, Koena, Ngalo, Sibande (Mashumba 76'), Khuboni, Mvala, Theron, Cale, Sitaytayi, Mbesuma (Leonard 88')