Nedbank Cup last-32 match report Thanda Royal Zulu Orlando Pirates
Posted: 22 February 2014 Time: 13:26
Orlando Pirates advanced to the last-16 of the Nedbank Cup after dramatically edging NFD strugglers Thanda Royal Zulu 3-1 on penalties on Saturday afternoon.
The match was decided by spot kicks after 120 minutes of thrilling football produced a 3-3 stalemate at Umhlathuze Sports Complex.
Bucs, who were knocked out of the event by minnows Maluti FET College last year, were seemingly destined for a similar fate due to a fine first-half brace from Man of the Match Andile Fikizolo.
However, Ayanda Gcaba and Helder Pelembe both struck in the dying stages of regulation time to extend the battle.
Pirates substitute Kermit Erasmus looked to have netted the winner in the 109th minute but the hard-working Mhlengi Cele scored 11 minutes later to preserve the tie, albeit only briefly as Pirates won the shootout courtesy of successful penalties from Oupa Manyisa, Erasmus and Mpho Makola.
Thanda made the ideal start to the game, as Fikizolo arrived late in the box to rattle in a first minute opener in Richards Bay.
The hosts bossed the opening stanza, and doubled their advantage in the 37th minute, when Fikizolo thundered home an unstoppable volley into the top corner from 30 yards out.
The shell-shocked Buccaneers showed greater intent after the interval, with Sifiso Myeni and Pelembe firing shots on goal without reward.
Pelembe then came agonisingly close to reducing the deficit in the 73rd minute, as his booming header off a right-wing cross brushed the top of the crossbar.
Gcaba, who was lucky to escape a red card for an earlier foul, though offered some hope when he rose impressively to nod in a 90th minute goal.
Pelembe then drew level four minutes later when he tapped in from close range after goalkeeper Siyabonga Mngoma flapped unsuccessfully at a cross.
Erasmus, a half-time replacement for Tlou Segolela, gave Pirates the lead for the first time with a crisp finish in the box in extra time, but Cele equalised at the death from inside the area.
The Sea Robbers, though, prevailed as they slotted all of their penalties, while Senzo Meyiwa saved one and Thanda twice struck the woodwork from the spot.
Thanda Royal Zulu: Mngoma, Sekete, Khanyile (Zitha 74’), Maselwa, Luthuli (Vilane 92’), Komane, Cele, Spandiel, Bhengu, Fikizolo (Mashishi 84’), Gumede.
Orlando Pirates: Meyiwa, Nyauza, Lekgwathi, Matlaba, Gcaba, Pelembe, Segolela (Erasmus 46’), Manyisa, Myeni, Klate (Malongoane 71’), Ntshumayelo (Makola 57’).