Bucs crowned MTN8 champs


Orlando Pirates bagged the MTN8 crown with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday evening.

Pirates went with the tried and tested which included captain Thulani Hlatshwayo and Deon Hotto, while Thembinkosi Lorch was only named on the bench after returning from injury.

The first danger signs came from Siwelele Sa Masele when a free-kick from range by Ndumiso Mabena in the first minute forced Richard Ofori to turn for a corner-kick. And from the corner, Celtic opened the scoring after Mzwanele Mahashe beat Hlatshwayo to an aerial challenge to find an unmarked Siphelele Luthuli who volleyed into the near corner.

The Buccaneers were thrown into further jeopardy midway through the first half when Thabang Monare was stretchered off following a collision, although Josef Zinnbauer opted to introduce Lorch instead of another midfielder.

Lorch looked to make an instant impact minutes from entering after delivering a cutback from the right-side for Fortune Makaringe, but the latter skewed wide of the near corner.

The equaliser did eventually come a minute from the half-hour mark as a one-touch move from a free-kick freed Hotto to apply a composed bottom-corner finish.

Pirates turned it around 52 minutes in after Lorch send Jackson Mabokgwane the wrong way from the spot after going down from Ronald Pfumbidzai’s challenge, who earned his marching orders.

The Buccaneers suddenly found renewed optimism inside the closing phases of the match with Zakhele Lepasa going close from a loose pass towards the six-yard area.

Celtic struggled to contain the onslaught as Vincent Pule drew an outstanding save off Mabokwgane with 12 minutes to go following a first-time shot in the area.

Siwelele recovered from the slow spell and purposely pushed for the equaliser towards full-time, but the Buccaneers closed all doors to go on and claim the honours.

Confirmed line-ups:

Celtic: Mabokgwane, Mahashe, Ngobeni, Baloyi, Pfumbidzai, Phalane, Masuku, Luthuli, Letsaolo, Mabena, Potsane.

Subs: Chaine, Mashikinya, Chabalala, Fikizolo, De Jongh, Mangweni, Sera, Tchilimbou, Lingwati.

Pirates:Ofori, Hlatshwayo, Nyauza, Jooste, Maela, Motshwari, Monare, Makaringe, Hotto, Pule, Lepasa

Subs: Sandilands, Dzvukamanja, Mntambo, Mako, Zungu, Mabasa, Ndlovu, Mhango, Lorch