Pirates join Chiefs in Nedbank semis

Pirates got off to the perfect start when they were awarded a penalty after just four minutes as Lennox Bacela took a tumble in the box after Mzikayise Mashaba trod on his foot.

Oupa Manyisa stepped up to take the spot-kick and sent Kennedy Mweene the wrong way, slotting into the bottom-right corner to give the Buccaneers the lead.

Sundowns tried to get back into the game quickly with a few good-looking attacks and the Pirates defence had to be well organised to deal with two dangerous Teko Modise corners.

The Brazilians suffered another injury setback when Khama Billiat picked up an ankle injury and had to be replaced by Elias Pelembe, but still Pitso Mosimane's side started controlling the possession more as they went in search of an equaliser.

And the equaliser duly came when Anthony Laffor broke down the left and found Pelembe at the far post. The substitute brought the ball down beautifully on his chest before firing under Senzo Meyiwa with his left foot.

Meyiwa got a hand to Pelembe's shot but the ball slipped under his body, and for the rest of the match the keeper was determined to make amends as he played to a Man of the Match performance.

Lebohang Mokoena hit the upright in the 30th minute as Sundowns threatened  again, skipping past Happy Jele after some classy approach play by Surprise Moriri and Laffor, who fired a snap-shot over the bar eight minutes later.

Pirates had their next chance two minutes before half-time when Thabo Matlaba broke down the left before zipping the ball right across the face of goal, but nobody was there to finish it off.

All square at 1-1 at half-time.

Right after the restart Sundowns showed their intent when the impressive Moriri expertly picked out Laffor's run into the area, but Meyiwa was out quickly to stand big and block the striker's attempt.

In the 56th minute Modise found Nthethe at the far post, and when his header was blocked by Meyiwa, the ball came back to him and his follow-up shot from point-black range was bravely blocked by Rooi Mahamutsa with his head.

Three minutes later Meyiwa produced an incredible double-save to deny Modise and then Moriri, right on the goal-line, when the Sundowns veteran looked odds-on to score. 1-1 it stayed.

Then Pirates took the lead in the 62nd minute as Daine Klate's inswinging free-kick from the right eluded everybody, including Kennedy Mweene in the Sundowns goal, and sailed straight into the back of the net.

It was a goal against the run of play, and Sundowns continued to push forward in search of another equaliser as Moriri's shot from Tebogo Langerman's cross was blocked and Pelembe's follow-up volley went inches wide.

Helder Pelembe was guilty of missing two decent chances for Bucs as the match entered the last 10 minutes, before Sundowns pushed Alje Schut up-front to provide a target man as they went all-out attack.

Modise found Schut in the box in the 92nd minute but his captain's header was straight at Meyiwa. Thamsanqa Gabuza then played in Matlaba on a quick counter-attack but Mweene saved his effort.

Ramahlwe Mphahlele had Downs' final attempt in vain as his long-range shot was comfortably gathered by Meyiwa.

Pirates join Kaizer Chiefs and Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup semi-finals, with Bloemfontein Celtic hosting Bidvest Wits on Sunday.