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Pirates put Chiefs to the sword at Orlando Stadium

Thembinkosi Lorch

Orlando Pirates moved one step closer to the MTN8 final after claiming a commanding 3-0 victory over Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the first-leg of the semi-final at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.

Gavin Hunt made one change to his side that beat Chippa United in the DStv Premiership as Ramahlwe Mphahlele came in to replace the injury Reeve Frosler.

Josef Zinnbauer, meanwhile, made wholesale changes as Thabang Monare, Zakhele Lepasa, Thembinkosi Lorch, Terrence Dzvukamanja, Wayde Jooste and Innocent Maela were all named in Pirates' starting lineup.

The Glamour Boys showed their intent early on and nearly took the lead after 10 minutes of play when Khama Billiat beat two Pirates defenders before firing his effort against the woodwork.

Amakhosi had another chance to take the lead in the 20th minute when Billiat set up Leonardo Castro but the Colombian striker failed to hit the target from close range.

It was Pirates who broke the deadlock five minutes later when Zakhele Lepasa got on to the end of a Terrence Dzvukamanja cross to head the ball home.

Lepasa had another opportunity to double Pirates' lead in the 36th minute but the goalscorer was unable to find the mark after combining well with Vincent Pule.

Amakhosi should have levelled the matter with two minutes left to play in the half but Ngezana directed his header over the crossbar after latching on to a Lebogang Manyama free-kick.

The Buccaneers had a golden opportunity to extend their lead in stoppage time but Pule failed to pick out a teammate in the box in a three-on-one situation.

Pirates managed to hold on to their one-goal lead over Chiefs as the game went into the half to break.

Hunt opted to make a double substitution early in the second half as Bernard Parker and Happy Mashiane came on to replace Manyama and Ngcobo, respectively.

Richard Ofori came to his sides rescue in the 62nd minute when he made a great save to deny Ngezana's header on target.

The home side then doubled their lead four minutes later when Pule found the back of the net with a beautiful turn before finding the back of the net from inside the box.

Castro had a chance to reduce the deficit in the 69th minute but the forward directed his header straight into the hands of Ofori.

Zinnbauer made a double change of his own in the 70th minute as Deon Hotto and Siphesihle Ndlovu came on to replace Dzvukamanja and Monare. 

Chiefs made changes of their own as in the 78th minute when they brought on Lebogang Lesako in place of Baccus Kearyn Baccus before bringing on 17-year-old Keletso Sifama for Castro. 

Pirates extended their lead even further three minutes later when they launched a swift counter with Hotto, who played Thembinkosi Lorch through on goal before firing home with a superb finish.

Zinnbauer was not sitting back and brought on fresh leads in the form of Fortune Makaringe and Happy Jele, who replaced Lorch and Hlatshwayo with six minutes left to play before Nkanyiso Zungu came on for Ben Motshwari a minute later.

Amakhosi pushed forward in the closing stages of the game but Pirates held on to their commanding lead over their rivals to claim the bragging rights, while advancing to the finals of the MTN8 competition.