Cape Town - Orlando Pirates hardly raised a sweat as they easily dispatched an outgunned Santos 2-0 in a Nedbank Cup last 16 tie at Athlone Stadium on Friday night.
The comfortable victory seals the Buccaneers’ place in the quarter-finals of the competition that is based on the English FA Cup, where lower-tier sides battle it out against top-division teams.
First Division Santos, though, found the going tough against PSL club Pirates, and if the Soweto side had approached the game with a bit more passion and purpose, they could well have got a few more goals.
It was just so easy for Pirates and, as a result, as soon as they took the lead, they were content to just pass the ball around. They knew they were never in danger of losing.
The Santos game plan was clearly to soak up Pirates’ pressure and attempt to catch the Soweto side on the break. As such, the Buccaneers were able to dominate possession and launch offensive moves at will.
The Capetonians, though, were able to keep things tight, allowing the Joburg team the ball, but never allowing them easy access to their penalty area.
Pirates, in fact, were rather poor in the opening 25 minutes, not making full use of the abundance of ball they had. They looked lacklustre and a bit complacent.
Santos certainly weren’t in the mood to hand things over easily and they got stuck in, tackled fearlessly and performed with admirable shape and discipline.
But class is class, and a team can only defend for so long before they are breached. It was only a matter of time before Pirates got into gear. It came in the 29th minute, thanks to the searing pace of winger Tlou Segolela.
Segolela shook off a number of Santos defenders and dashed into the penalty area, where he was brought down by Sachin Dawood.
The referee had an easy decision to point to the penalty spot. Pirates’ former Santos man, Lennox Bacela, stepped up to confidently convert the penalty and put the Buccaneers on the road to victory.
Santos could have levelled in the dying seconds of the first half, when a mix-up in the heart of the Pirates defence nearly let the Cape side’s striker Edwin Sitayitayi in, but the Joburg side managed to avert the danger.
The second half followed much the same pattern, with Pirates on attack and Santos waiting for errors to counter.
The Soweto team’s attacks though, lacked energy and purpose, they seemed content with the one goal.
They were, of course, assisted by the Cape side’s inefficiency up front.
While Santos were organised and committed in defence, they lacked any intent in attack, which allowed Pirates the space to simply knock the ball around and let the minutes tick by.
But, by the 65th minute, it was 2-0 and game over.
A Pirates corner was floated in and central defender Rooi Mahamutsa rose high to power in a header that crashed into the back of the net.
There was an opportunity for a consolation for Santos during the referee’s optional time when Pirates captain Lucky Lekgwathi was adjudged to have handled the ball and a penalty was awarded.
Substitute David Radebe was handed the responsibility, but goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa saved the effort by Santos’ former Kaizer Chiefs striker.