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Maluti FET College produced a Nedbank Cup upset of staggering proportions on Saturday, the side from the third tier of domestic football demolishing and embarrassing South Africa’s double treble winners.
Morena Ramoreboli’s little-known side from the Free State put themselves well and truly on the footballing map at the Charles Mopeli Stadium in Phuthaditjhaba, tearing the might of Orlando Pirates to shreds with a scintillating display.
Maluti went in front after just 47 seconds and never looked back, surging into the last 16 with a stunning scoreline that could have been even worse for the Buccaneers if Maluti had not also missed a second-half penalty.
Pirates were never at the races, in a result even more amazing given that they had been in an healthy vein of form under coach Roger De Sa, and had been particularly strong defensively. The Pirates coach left out several first-choice players for this game, but nobody could have expected those who did play to have been this dreadful.
“It was a disaster of errors, starting in the first minute,” De Sa told SuperSport afterwards.
“We were poor all round.”
That is to take nothing away from Maluti, who were inspirational, captain Lucky Mokoena taking home the Man of the Match award for his two goals, and defender Mashale Rantabane also grabbing a brace.
“Credit must go to these boys, they did well. They stuck to the plan and I am happy,” said Ramoreboli.
With Andile Jali out suspended, and Siyabonga Sangweni injured, De Sa also rested the likes of Daine Klate and Lucky Lekgwathi, with a hectic fixture schedule in mind. Lekgwathi’s absence meant Bheki Nzunga got a rare start, but he and the rest of the Buccaneers back four were to endure a nightmare of an afternoon. Ramoreboli had promised his side would give Pirates a good game, but even he could not have envisaged them taking the lead after just 47 seconds. Mokoena sprinted clear of a static Pirates defence, while Senzo Meyiwa, so brilliant since claiming the No 1 jersey at Pirates, had a total rush of blood to the head, hurtling outside the penalty area. Mokoena slotted the ball past Meyiwa, and it crept into the net.
For a spell, it only seemed a matter of time before Pirates would draw level, their passing game finding plenty of gaps behind the Maluti defence. But Maluti goalkeeper Mohlohlo Khuse was in an inspired mood, twice rushing off his line to deny another rare Pirates starter, Rudolf Bester.
And Maluti doubled their lead inside 25 minutes, helped by more awful Pirates defending. Centre- back Mashale Rantabane dived completely unmarked to head in a free-kick past Meyiwa.
Pirates played as if stunned, giving the ball away carelessly, and Maluti were inspired.
De Sa threw on the cavalry at half-time, Takesure Chinyama and Ndumiso Mabena entering the fray, but it was Maluti who went further in front, a quite brilliant header from Mokoena flying past the flailing Meyiwa.
Maluti were then handed a penalty by referee Buyile Gqubule, a harsh decision for a push by Happy Jele on Molibeli Mokoena. Meyiwa saved a poor penalty, however, and Pirates went right up the other end, Manyisa swivelling and drilling a shot past Khuse to give the Buccaneers some hope. But that hope was well and truly quashed 10 minutes from time, an excellent Moholo Rankati knocking a corner down for Rantabane to head in. – Sunday Independent