Pirates lose battle, win the war against Stellies to reach Moses Mabhida final
Orlando Pirates are set to face Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8 final despite their disappointing 1-0 loss to Stellenbosch FC in the semifinal second leg at Orlando Stadium on Sunday.
The final will be held at Moses Mabhida Stadium on October 7, the Premier Soccer League announced after Sunday's match.
Pirates progressed on the away goals rule as the tie ended 2-2 on aggregate over the 180 minutes as Iqraam Rayners’s 22-minute goal on Sunday was not enough to send Steve Barker's tough, competitive Stellenbosch through.
Even with another cup final to savour, Bucs coach Jose Riveiro might be concerned with the side’s recent run of results as they have now suffered three successive defeats in different tournaments.
Pirates lost to Jwaneng Galaxy of Botswana in the first leg of their Caf Champions League second preliminary round ties and to Sundowns in the DStv Premiership on Wednesday, both also by 1-0 scorelines.
Bucs' advantage from having won the first leg 2-1 in Cape Town thanks to Deon Hotto's added-time strike Stellies needed to win by a cushion of two goals or more to reach the final.
The Sea Robbers were notable without Nkosinathi Sibisi and Thabang Monare with their spots being handed to Sandile Mthethwa and Siphelo Baloni.
Pirates also welcomed attacking midfielder Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo back after he was suspended for the midweek game against Sundowns.
As expected, the Buccaneers dominated the match in Soweto with Stellenbosch subjected to defending for most of the game.
Pirates created plenty of opportunities in the opening half, but their lack of accuracy and poor decision-making let them down.
Though Stellies did not create many chances, they looked dangerous when they did run with the ball, mostly via Rayners and Antonio van Wyk upfront.
Rayners broke the deadlock on 22 minutes with a strike from outside the box that deflected on Pirates’ forward Zakhele Lepasa to find the back of the net.
Stellies were able to keep Pirates at bay for the first half though the Buccaneers might feel hard done-by at some of referee Thando Ndzandzeka’s decisions.
Bucs appealed for penalties twice in the opening 45 minutes when star player Monnapule Saleng was brought down inside Stellenbosch’s box and another for a handball.
In search of the equaliser and to restore the aggregate lead, Riveiro replaced Saleng with Lesedi Kapinga before the start of the second half.
Though Pirates continued to enjoy the greater share of dominance their play lacked energy and the players had no sense of urgency with the team a goal down.
Bucs improved to an extent after the introduction of industrious Miguel Timm, who replaced Baloni in the middle of the park, and Bandile Shandu for Thabiso Monyane.
But they couldn’t translate their dominance to goals.