The Buccaneers’ goalkeeper Sipho Chaine saved three penalties to ensure Pirates break their hoodoo against a Brazilian side that had given them hard times in recent matches.
Defending Wafa Wafa title Champions Pirates arrived as unfamiliar underdogs in this battle of the titans, looking to break a horrid streak of three consecutive losses against Sundowns.
The Sea Robbers Head Coach Jose Riveiro opted to throw every bit of arsenal at his disposal at Sundowns as leading Zakhele Lepasa partnered Kermit Erasmus upfront with Patrick Maswanganyi and Monnapule Saleng supporting in behind.
In the opposite dugout, the names of Themba Zwane and Peter Shalulile jumped out of the Sundowns teamsheet with head coach Rhulani Mokwena fielding his strongest possible starting 11.
The midfield figures of Tebogo Mokoena, Marcelo Allende and Rivaldo Coetzee were also tasked with attempting to control the engine room.
With the atmosphere deafening in a windy Durban night, both teams started jittery and the nervousness from both sides almost handed Sundowns the opener following a blunder by Nkosinathi Sibisi.
The Pirates defender’s attempted backpass fell short and Shalulile latched onto it before rolling the ball to the path of Zwane, however, Chaine showed his worth as he thwarted Zwane in the 6th minute.
The longer the first half went on, the more Piratesvl grew into the game, putting high pressure on a Sundowns side determined to build up from the back but with great struggle.
At the halfway point, both sets of coaches would’ve been pleased to simply not concede following a first stanza that saw both teams struggle to grab full control of the match.
The early stages of the second half presented a more cagey affair in terms of progressive passes and risk-taking which resulted in a lot of 50/50 duels and squabbles all over the pitch.
It came as no surprise when the first real chance emanated from a cleverly worked set-piece by Sundowns in the 74th minute.
Shalulile again was the guilty party as a corner whipped to the far post saw unmarked but his attempted shot on the turn saw him sky hit an effort over the post.
The two teams could not be separated after regular time but not for a lack of timing and required a further 30 minutes to try and snatch a winner.
Match Referee Abongile Tom, who had managed the game excellently up to that point, was forced to show his metal in the first stanza of extra half time.
After failing to catch a cross, Chaine seemed to hack down Lebogang Maboe in the box but just when everyone expected a penalty, the Sundowns attacker was booked for simulation.