Pretoria – Orlando Pirates showed how dangerous they could be from the set-piece as they edged Mamelodi Sundowns 2-1 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, in Pretoria, to book their place in the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup on Saturday night.
Oupa Manyisa netted a sixth minute penalty, before Daine Klate scored a second half stunner from a free-kick to send the Buccaneers into their fourth semi-final of the season, after successfully making their way into the MTN8, Telkom Knockout and Caf Champions League penultimate stage last year.
Pirates went ahead just six minutes into the clash following a clumsy tackle from Mzikayise Mashaba on Lennox Bacela, who had his foot stepped on inside the area, leaving referee Robert Smith no choice but to award the penalty.
Manyisa scored from the spot, sending goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene the wrong way and bulging the net to take the early advantage.
The hosts were dealt a serious blow shortly after, when Khama Billiat was forced from the field due to injury, with Pelembe replacing the Zimbabwean playmaker, who had only recently returned from a previous injury which kept the attacker out for more than six weeks.
Sundowns never looked like giving in and soon were back on level terms as Pelembe beat Meyiwa from inside the area, after Anthony Laffor picked out the Mozambican international, delivered a perfect cross, and watched on as Pelembe netted the equaliser in the 25th minute.
Laffor and skipper Alje Schut went close inside 90 seconds after the break, before Thabo Nthethe found himself completely unmarked in the 55th minute from a Teko Modise corner, but the Bafana Bafana centre-back was denied by a solid save from Meyiwa.
Three minutes later, Meyiwa was called into action again, this time making a superb double save to keep out Modise's volley, before following it up with a diving stop after the rebound fell kindly for Surprise Moriri, who failed to beat the goalkeeper from dead in front.
But despite a period of sustained pressure from the home team, Pirates went back in front in the 62nd minute courtesy of Klate's fine effort from the set-piece, whipping in a devilish ball which eluded everyone in the area and bounced into the roof of the net, beating Mweene for a pace.
The Brazilians pushed for the equaliser and saw Moriri's shot go agonisingly wide a minute from the end, marking their last attempt at drawing level, as Pirates walked away from Loftus with a well-deserved victory to keep their only chance at silverware alive, heading into the semi-final of the country's most lucrative cup competition. – Sapa