Orlando Pirates flex their muscle and thrash amateurs Crystal Lake in Nedbank Cup

Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro

FILE - Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro. Photo: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 24, 2024


Orlando Pirates began their Nedbank Cup defence on a high after making light of their last 32 opponents Crystal Lake at Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga on Saturday afternoon.

Pirates won the tie 6-0, thanks to Tapelo Xoki’s brace and solitary goals from Olisa Ndah, Relebohile Mofokeng, Patrick Maswanganyi and Tshegofatso Mabasa.

But while the result proved their dominance, Pirates could have won by a greater margin on the day if they were lethal in front of goal.

Nonetheless, Jose Riveiro won’t bemoan the blemishes as his team, which had three changes to the team that drew with Mamelodi Sundowns, as they got the win.

Mofokeng was one of the standout performers for the Sea Robbers, the youngster grabbing his chance with both hands after Thembinkosi Lorch’s departure.

Having played minnows – FC All Stars, Venda Football Academy and Dondol Stars – enroute to the crown last season, Pirates were on familiar territory.

But they had to dig deep and be at their best this afternoon as they played against a fourth-tier division team which was only confirmed as their opponents on Monday.

And Pirates did exactly that!

By half-time, the Sea Robbers were already in cruise mode, leading 4-0. All four were goals scored in the first 33 minutes.

Ndah opened the scoring for the visitors via a tap in from close-range after capitalising from Evidence Makgopa’s flicked shot towards goal following Mofokeng’s corner.

In a space of two minutes, Pirates were 2-0 up. Tapelo Xoki converted his second spot kick in a week after Makgopa was brought down inside the box.

It then became Mofokeng show as he scored Pirates’ third goal in less than 11 minutes after forcing Excellent Mkhonto to parry his pile driver into his own net.

Pirates’ fourth of half was scored by Patrick Maswangayi following another assist from Mofokeng who troubled Lake’s defensive contingent.

Mofokeng had a brilliant first half that he could have added to his contribution with either a goal or assist, having had a field day with Lake’s defensive unit.

His passes in the pocket or crosses were either wasted by Makgopa, who’s yet to score since his exploits at the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast.

Mofokeng also saw another shot cleared off the line by Lake’s defender Maxwell Thethe resulting in Makgopa colliding with Mkhonto in the air.

Mkhonto who had already conceded four goals was injured in the process and replaced by Mabunda for the remainder of the half and game.

Mabunda did well to avoid his team from conceding more goals in the first half, but he was beaten in the second by Xoki and Mabasa.

Xoki leaped high in the box to head home Maswangayi’s corner-kick early in the half before Mabasa came off the bench to wrap up the win for Pirates.

Sure, Pirates’ win over Lake was deserving as they didn’t undermine their opponents, but they’ll know that they’ve got their work cut out for them going forward.


IOL Sport