Vincent Pule of Orlando Pirates celebrates a goal with teammates during the Telkom Knockout Last 16 Orlando Pirates and Chippa United. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – It was not the prettiest of performances from an Orlando Pirates team that gearing up for the Soweto Derby next weekend, but they’ll be happy about progressing to the quarterfinals of the Telkom Knockout after beating Chippa United by 1 – 0 at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night. 

Having already been knocked out of the MTN8 cup competition earlier this season by SuperSport United at the same venue, Pirates needed the perfect response and they gave one. 

This was a match that they needed to win if they are to back up their championship intentions this season. 

Their first meeting with Chippa in Port Elizabeth this season, they got full points in the league but coming into an encounter against a team that you share a similar style of play was always going to be difficult, especially in a cup competition. 

To some extent, this match had an added description to it, the “homecoming tenure’’, considering that six players have been interchanged between the two teams. 

Pirates’ Thembinkosi Lorch and Xola Mlambo welcomed their former employees to their current home, while Mark Mayambela, Daine Klate, Thamsanqa Sangweni, Thabo Rakhale and including coach Eric Tinkler were back to where they had some of their best and worst football career. 

Ben Motshwari of Orlando Pirates is challenged by Thamsanqa Sangweni of Chippa United. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix
Ben Motshwari of Orlando Pirates is challenged by Thamsanqa Sangweni of Chippa United. Photo: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

With both teams knowledgeable about the other, they played the better part of the first stanza with caution. Play was interchanged in the middle of the park, and both teams had the same strategy of playing in transition instead of delivering crosses in the boxes. 

Added pressure though was upon the shoulders of Zambian striker Justin Shonga. 

Shonga has been in fine-form for Chipolopolo on international duty, especially having scored in both their back-to-back Afcon qualifiers against Guinea-Bissau. However, the Pirates supporters have been deprived of that Shonga this season as he’s only scored once in 10 matches. Out of the little that there was in the first stanza, Shonga did try to get something for the home-side but for only for his attempt, and real chance of the half, to be successfully saved by goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi. 

Following his introduction into the second half for Augustine Mulenga, Vincent Pule yet again proved why he’s currently the fan’s favourite. 

On a break, Xola Mlambo delivered-in a telling ball that found a tightly marked but quick Pule who sneaked the ball into the back of the net. 

After that deficit Chippa’s soldiered as they were the brighter team going into the final stages of the match but it was not to be. 

At some point, Klate’s close-range set-piece which looked to have sailed into the top corner but only got the roof of the posts.

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