Orlando Pirates picked up the first piece of silverware on offer this season as they edged a 10-man Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 in the MTN8 final on Saturday evening to end the club’s six-year trophy drought.
Pirates came into the game looking to end their six-year trophy drought on the year anniversary of coach Josef Zinnbuaer’s arrival at the club.
Celtic on the other hand cam into the game as underdogs and were looking to upset the favourites as Baroka did when the faced Pirates in the 2018 Telkom Knockout final.
The Sea Robbers, however, were pegged back early as Celtic got off to the perfect start taking the lead with just four minutes played. Pirates failed to clear their lines properly from a corner with Mzwanele Mahashe getting his head on the ball to nod it down to Siphelele Luthuli, who smashed his volley in from close range.
John Maduka’s side weren’t sitting back and almost doubled their lead in the 21st minute as a quick counterattack saw Ndumiso Mabena through on goal after a one-two with Menzi Masuku, but Ntsikelelo Nyauza made a fantastic sliding interception to save the day for Pirates.
The Buccaneers were then forced into an early change as Thabang Monare was forced off with an injury and Thembinkosi Lorch, who made an earlier than expected return to fitness, came on to replace him.
Zinnbauer’s side though began to grow into the game and were rewarded for their efforts as Ronald Pfumbidzai duffed his clearance with the ball falling to Deon Hotto who dinked his shot over the onrushing goalkeeper Jackson Mabogkwane to level the scores.
An open start to the second stanza saw Richard Ofori called into action, making a fantastic save to keep the scores level, before the game was turned on his head Pfumbudzai was again at fault as his pulled down sub Lorch, who was through on goal, with the referee pointing to the spot and producing the red card.
Lorch stepped up and smashed the spot kick into the top corner as the Sea Robbers took the lead with 53 minutes gone.
Lorch then almost doubled his side’s advantage a minute later as he curled a fantastic effort towards the top corner, but it went just narrowly wide.
Playing against 10-men Pirates looked happy to keep their shape and be difficult to break down while Celtic had no choice but to throw caution to the wind and throw people forward.
Pirates remained a threat on the counter while managing to snuff out any Celtic threat to the goal. Despite Maduka’s teams’ efforts they could not find a way to goal as the Soweto giants claimed the MTN8 crown ending their six-year trophy.
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