PORT ELIZABETH – Baroka FC cemented their status as giant killers stunning Orlando Pirates 3-2 on penalties on Saturday night in the Telkom Knockout final at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth to successfully land their maiden triumph in top flight football.
The game ended 2-2 after 120 minutes of pulsating action. Baroka completed their fairtale run in fine style in a packed Nelson Mandela Bay. They shot down Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits in their way in to the final. Pirates have to wait for another year to end their trophy drought.
Pirates should have taken the lead six minutes in to the game but Thembinkosi Lorch fluffed a glorious opportunity as Elvis Chipezeze produced a fine save to keep Bakgaga in to the game.
Mduduzi Mdantshane committed a blunder around the box when he attempted to play the back pass to Bonginkosi Makume but Lorch intercepted the pass and tried to beat Chipezeze who was well positioned to deny the Bucanneers an early lead.
Both teams showed their intent from the word go. They were attacking each other from both ends. The game was played at a frenetic pace.
Pirates created better goalscoring opportunities in the first half but it was Baroka who went in to the interval smiling despite all the possession that the Bucanneers enjoyed. Baroka were shaky at the back. Ananias Gebhardt almost gifted the Bucanneers an early Christmas present with his poor clearance but Vincent Pule directed his attempt over the bar. Chipezeze was incensed by Gebhardt's poor decision making and gave him a tounge lash.
Pirates were dealt a major blow when Marshall Munetsi was given his marching orders just five minutes before the interval.
It went from bad to worse for the Bucanneers when Siyabonga Mpontshane misjudged Matome Mabeba's cross from the right and side in the dying minutes of the first half.
Talent Chiwapiwa directed his header in to the path of Jemondre Dickens who finished with aplomb to puts Bakgaga in the lead. Mpontshane proved to be fragile once again aerial. The goal came after five minutes from Munetsi's red card.
Mlambo should have levelled the matter three minutes in to the second half following a lovely move which was orchestrated by Thembinkosi Lorch and Augustine Mulenga but sliced his short over the bar. It was huge let for Baroka.
Pirates were playing three at the back with Mlambo and Musa Nyatama protecting Happy Jele, Innocent Maele and Asavela Mbekile at the heart of the midfield.
Pirates came back strong in the second stanza. You couldn't have tell that they were one man shot. They kept on asking questions in to that Baroka defence.
The Bucanneers were finally rewarded for their persistence when Musa Nyatama restored parity 57 minutes in to the game. He pounced from Justin Shonga's free-kick which rattled the woodwork and Nyatama tapped in for the equaliser. It was coming for Pirates.
Mulenga was causing all sorts of problems for Baroka and wasted a decent chance to kill the game off 76 minutes in to the match. It was a move that was started by himself and combining with Lorch but couldn't finish his diligence. Baroka escaped another scary moment when Chipezeze denied Shonga with his right foot in optional time.
When Victor Gomes is in charge of any match, there's never any dull moment. He penalised Mlambo on extra time for bringing down Onkabatse Makgantai inside the box and Mdantshane coolly converted. Pirates were not willing to go down without a fight. Lorch snatched the equaliser with four minutes before the final whistle. Pirates lost 3-2 on penalties. Thabiso Kutumela, Justin Shonga and Lorch missed their penalties for Pirates while Jele and Nyatama converted theirs.
Mdantsane, Vusi Sibiya and Thabiso Semenya were on the scoresheet for Baroka.
Orlando Pirates (0) 2
Baroka FC (1) 2
Baroka won 3-2 on penalties.@Minenhlecr7