JOHANNESBURG – Polokwane City continued to bring out the best and worst of Orlando Pirates in their entertaining Telkom Knockout quarter-final clash on Saturday that ended 2-2 after two hours of football.
Rise and Shine then stunned the Buccaneers 4-2 in penalties to book a place in the semi-finals.
They join Bloemfontein Celtic and Bidvest Wits with the fourth team to be decided on Sunday between Chippa United and Kaizer Chiefs.
Walter Maponyane stepped up to score the penalty that took Polokwane to their first appearance in the last four of this tournament after Ndivhuwo Ravhuhali, Jabulani Maluleke and Rodney Ramagalela also found the back of the net for the visitors.
Those goals cancelled out Riyaad Norodien and Thabiso Kutumela’s strikes which weren’t enough with Marc van Heerden and Ntsikelelo Nyauza missing their penalties.
Rise and Shine once again exploited the Buccaneers’ defensive frailties with the speedy Rodney Ramagalela who draws defenders to allow Rendani Ndou space to punish them.
The pair combined well in the 2-2 with Pirates at Peter Mokaba Stadium in the league September. They did that again in this match.
But the Buccaneers, just like they did in that clash, picked themselves up after conceding to level matters – scoring more than one goal in a match for only the second time this season.
The first time they did that was in that 2-2 draw with Rise and Shine. But those goals weren’t enough as they crashed out of the tournament they have only won once.
Polokwane once again scored first.
Their early lead agitated the Ghost who were seeing their team go down for a second successive match under two minutes.
On Wednesday, Mamelodi Sundowns’ Hlompho Kekana scored 58 seconds into the match while Rendani Ndou found the opener 15 seconds before the two-minute mark. The Buccaneers’ fans kept telling Wayne Sandilands to return to his line when he went forward.
A lot was said by Pitso Mosimane on how the Brazilians planned for Sandilands because they knew he goes off his line a lot.
Sandilands was looking to restore his dignity after his former teammates humiliated him here in midweek.
Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic “dropped” Jackson Mabokgwane who was used by Pirates in the last 16 of this competition, a move that hinted that he would be their cup goalkeeper.
But after the loss against Sundowns, dropping Sandilands would have further knocked his confidence. Conceding another early goal didn’t help while he was beaten hands down when Ndou completed his brace.
Sandilands didn’t wallow too much thanks to Nyauza showing his club’s misfiring strikers a thing or two with a well-worked equaliser.
The Pirates’ defender stole the ball from Sammy Seabi who slipped in front of his box, allowing Nyauza to score his first professional goal from a somewhat tight angle – needing to squeeze the ball between George Chigova and the pole.
While Nyauza scored with ease, his teammates whose job is to score squandered easy chances in a pitch that allowed carpet football as a heavy downpour greased it an hour before kickoff.
Mpho Makola wasted an opportunity to give Pirates the lead from the penalty spot after George Chigova brought down Thamsanqa Gabuza in the box.
The big Zimbabwean goalkeeper came off worse in that tackle which led to a lengthy delay as he was patched up even though he signalled that he wants to be taken off.
The decision to keep him worked as he saved the penalty before being replaced immediately after it by Harold Ndlovu.
Makola made up for that miss by scoring the equaliser with a header to finish a well-worked cross by Gabuza, who played wide instead of his traditional role as a centre-forward.
His bustling nature and high work ethic saw him thrive in that role, only let down by his poor showing when he had to put the ball in the back of the net.