Memela brace fires Bucs to final
Posted: 14 May 2016 Time: 13:28
Orlando Pirates advanced to the Nedbank Cup final with a 4-2 win over Free State Stars at Goble Park on Saturday afternoon.
Pirates prevailed thanks to a brace from Luvuyo Memela, strike from Thamsanqa Gabuza and own goal by Lucky Mohomi, who later netted for Stars along with Ayanda Nkosi.
SuperSport United and National First Division leaders Baroka FC will contest the other semi-final at Lucas Moripe Stadium tonight (kick-off: 20h15).
Pirates threatened early on, as Issa Sarr had a useful header deflected over by Ea Lla Koto stalwart Paulus Masehe in the second minute.
Soon after Mohomi drilled a free-kick straight at Brighton Mhlongo at the opposite end.
Bucs playmaker Thabo Rakhale showed intent in the 12th minute, as his strike from just inside the area drew a sharp save from Johnny Mathole.
Mhlongo then reiterated his worth four minutes later, diving smartly to his left to parry away another set-piece by Mohomi from just outside the box.
Tendai Ndoro looked to have given Pirates the lead in the 20th minute, but the Zimbabwean's finish from close range was correctly disallowed for offside.
The Sea Robbers, however, stole ahead four minutes later when Mohomi headed the ball into his own net off a free-kick from the right by Memela.
Stars nearly responded immediately, but Danny Venter's shot on the angle was well kept out by Mhlongo.
Pirates left-back Thabo Matlaba almost added a second goal on the half-hour mark as his intended cross bounced off the goal-frame.
Memela, though, was not to be denied in the 38th minute when he rifled in a low shot from just outside the box.
The hosts suffered another set-back just before the interval, as Makhehlene Makhaula was forced off with an injury, prompting the introduction of Nhlanhla Vilakazi.
Stars, however, started the second period brightly, as Mohomi struck the upright moments before Nkosi pulled one back from close range in the 55th minute after Bucs failed to clear a free-kick.
Mohomi tried his luck again in the 64th minute but his speculative half-volley from range was comfortably off target.
Ea Lla Koto were not helped when their coach Giovanni Solinas was given his marching orders for dissent by referee Philip Tinyane in the 75th minute.
Soon after Pirates defender Ayanda Gcaba made a crucial tackle to deny Moeketsi Sekola a shot on goal moments after the striker came on for Katlego Mashego.
Mpho Makola came agonisingly close to making it 3-1 to Pirates but he was foiled by the post in the 85th minute.
Memela, however, netted with a composed finish a minute later before substitute Gabuza added another on the rebound in the 90th minute shortly after replacing Ndoro.
Mohomi hit back for Stars with a fine free-kick in stoppage time but it was not enough to earn them a spot in the final at Peter Mokaba Stadium on May 28.
HOME: Free State Stars
Coach: Giovanni Solinas