Sipho Chaine! Remember the name. Remember the night. Remember the occasion.
Of course the focus will be on the Orlando Pirates goalkeeper’s heroics in saving three of the kicks during the shoot-out from the penalty spot to help the Buccaneers retain the MTN8 trophy via a 3-1 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns.
The discerning football fan would, however, know that Chaine actually won this match for Pirates as early as the first minute with that incredible stop to deny Themba Zwane the opening goal. It was a confidence-boosting save that saw the goalkeeper believing there was just no getting past him on a night when Pirates really needed the victory.
Coming into this match on the back of a wretched run of form that saw them not winning in their last four matches, even losing to the self same Sundowns in controversial fashion as well as being knocked out of the CAF Champions League by lowly Jwaneg Galaxy of Botswana, Pirates had to win to get some redemption.
Playing second fiddle
And you knew they needed it the most as they took the game to their revered opposition who no doubt learnt on the night that karma is truly a female dog. Though they lost and uncharacteristically played second fiddle for majority of the clash, Sundowns created the better chances. Of course their fans are going to be crying foul that they were denied three penalties.
One of those should definitely have been given as Bandile Shandu blocked a corner kick with his hand. But the other two were justifiably not given. And even the goal that was scored by Junior Mendieta was correctly not given as Bongani Zungu received the ball in an offside position before delivering the pass for Mendieta to score.
That goal was the only time they breached Chaine whose confidence was evident throughout the match as he pulled off numerous saves which kept Pirates in the match, particularly in the second half as Sundowns looked to use the advantage of the wind blowing toward their adversaries’ goals.
There was that great stop he made to deny Marcelo Allende on 82 minutes as Sundowns opened up the Pirates defence with numerous passes. But most impressive were the two successive ones he made as Sundowns delivered in-swinging corner kicks, first via Aubrey Modiba and then later through Khuliso Mudau – the goalkeeper literally pulling one of the corners from the goalline.
No surprise then that he was fantastic in the shoot-out as he saved the first three of Sundowns’s kicks to deny all of Zungu, Mendieta and Teboho Mokoena.
He was beaten by Mtobi Mvala, but that was all just academic as Pirates’ Congolese midfielder Karim Kimvuidi converted his kick to give the Buccaneers a deserved 3-1 victory.
This night though, belonged to Chaine, the young goalkeeper who is fast building himself a reputation as a Buccaneers hero. His display Saturday night will remain forever etched in the memories of The Ghost who were fast becoming the laughing stock of local football following their recent failures to win matches.