Pirates cruise into TKO semis

The Buccaneers were well worth the win courtesy of goals from Kermit Erasmus and Mpho Makola, but the Team of Choice were not without their chances.

Eric Tinkler had made a massive seven changes to the side which lost to Bidvest Wits in midweek, including bringing in Siyabonga Mpontshane for Felipe Ovono, whose error lost them the game against the Students.

After a cagey start, it was Pirates who had the first shot at target when Makola’s drive from the edge of the area hit the side-netting.

Ashley Hartog flashed a shot over the crossbar at the other end before Ayanda Gcaba rose highest at a corner-kick, but put his header just wide.

The Buccaneers opened the scoring on 25 minutes, and it was a beauty from Erasmus, who ran onto Thamsanqa Gabuza’s flick-on before hitting a first-time volley into the far corner.

But rather than lie down, Maritzburg upped their game and twice came very close to equalising through Kwanda Mngonyama headers.

Erasmus should have extended Pirates lead five minutes before the break when he ran onto a Thamsanqa Teyise back-pass, but rather then shoot he took another touch and the moment was lost.

Maritzburg almost got their goal shortly afterwards after Mpontshane missed a cross, allowing Mngonyama another a shot at goal, but Siyabonga Sanweni was on hand to clear off the line.

Anoy thoughts the visitors had of a comeback were dashed just after the restart when John Paintsil handled the ball inside the box. Makola's initial shot was saved, but he slotted the rebound.

The game went into something of a lull after that, with substitute Gift Motupa coming closest to adding to Pirates' tally with a shot from distance which went just wide.

However, Maritzburg should have at least pulled one back in the final 10 minutes when Hartog played in Lentjies with a perfect pass. The midfielder's shot beat the keeper, but not the upright.

The match finished 2-0 - a welcome boost for the underfire Tinkler a week before the season's first Soweto Derby.