Stars sink Bucs to win TKO trophy

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Lefty Shivambu

Lucky Lekgwathi of Orlando Pirates takes on Platinum Stars' Hendrico Botes during the Telkom Knockout final. Lekgwathi scores the first goal of the match, but Stars hit back two more goals to win the match and the title. Picture: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Johannesburg – Platinum Stars came from a goal down to beat Orlando Pirates 2-1 in the final of the Telkom Knockout cup competition at Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday night.

Mogakolodi Ngele netted a brace after coming on as a substitute in the 66th minute, to cancel out Lucky Lekgwathi's first half opener.

Saturday's fixture was the second successive cup final between these two teams, who battled it out in late September for the MTN8 trophy.

Dikwena came out on top on that occasion, with the match ending 1-1 following extra-time, before Stars had the better of Pirates on penalties, winning the shootout 3-1.

Stars were in with the first chance as Robert Ng'ambi pulled the trigger from just outside the box in the seventh minute, but the Malawian international put his effort over the bar, after some solid build-up play from the Rustenburg outfit.

Pirates replied through Happy Jele and Myeni in the 16th minute, but failed as Pirates looked dangerous going forward.

Jele broke away with the ball along the right flank and made a darting run, before centring his cross and he tried to pick out Myeni, but the Bafana Bafana midfielder could not get his foot to the ball as the opportunity passed.

But the Buccaneers would not be kept out for much longer, as Lekgwathi headed home from inside the area.

Pirates were awarded a free-kick in a tricky area, which Daine Klate dispatched towards goal, as Lekgwathi was on hand and gently glanced the cross past goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane.

Mpontshane was in the thick of the action just three minutes into the second period, after Klate delivered a low driven ball across the face of goal.

The shot-stopper was forced to make a superb reflex save after the ball came off one of his own defenders and nearly found the back of the net, but for the heroics of Mpontshane.

De Sa brought on Collins Mbesuma in the 70th minute for Lennox Bacela and within seconds of coming on, the Zambian came close to doubling Pirates' lead, but was denied by a simple save from Mpontshane, after the shot took a hefty deflection.

Two minutes later, Mbesuma made it a bit more tricky for the goalkeeper, who had to make a last-ditch save at his right post to keep the burly attacker out.

But Stars were rewarded for their resilience 12 minutes from time, as second half replacement Ngele chipped over Senzo Meyiwa.

Ngele made a powerful run right at the heart of the Pirates defence, leaving Rooi Mahamutsa in his wake, as the Botswana born midfielder cooly put the ball beyond an advancing Meyiwa.

Stars were brimming with confidence and with three minutes to play, Ngele sealed his status as the game's hero when his long-range effort sailed into the top corner.

Lindokuhle Mbatha started the move as he cut inside from the left, danced his way into the area and laid-off to Ngele.

Ngele hit the pass first time and curled his effort expertly into the corner past Meyiwa, who was left stranded despite a desperate dive to his right. – Sapa

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