July 20, 2024

How Pirates Completed Domestic Double 

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Pirates’ endurance got them over the line in this cup and it showed in the final. 

FILE PHOTO: Orlando Pirates celebrating after being crowned Nedbank Cup winners on Saturday evening. PICTURE: Orlando Pirates/Twitter

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PRETORIA: Orlando Pirates are the new Nedbank Cup champions after defeating the gutsy Sekhukhune United 2-1 on Saturday afternoon.

The Buccaneers went into the match as the favourites, but Babina Noko made them sweat for the victory. Two goals in the added time of both halves, one from Tapelo Xoki, who converted from a penalty spot, and the last-minute winner by Terrence Dzvukamanja clinched the cup for them. 

The Sowetan giants were given an early scare in the match when Sekhukhune scored through veteran Sibusiso Vilakazi in the 12th minute. This forced them to search for an equaliser, which came after a controversial moment in the match. A penalty was awarded to Pirates in the added time of the first half and Xoki converted it. 

The game went to the break with a 1-all score. In the second half, the Buccaneers laboured for the winner and the crowning moment came when the extra time was looming. Dzvukamanja was at the end of a cross in the dying moments and killed the dreams of Sekhukhune of winning its maiden cup in the added time, scoring a goal that made the ‘Happy People’ happy again. 

The match was an exact blueprint of how the Bucs reached the final. Prior to the final, Pirates went to the extra time with Venda Football Academy, then they were taken to the penalty shootout against Dondol Stars and in the semi-finals against Kaizer Chiefs, it was another late winner in the extra time. Pirates’ endurance got them over the line in this cup and it showed in the final. 

The Nedbank Cup final was also the last game of the Premier Soccer League (PSL) season. Pirates finished the 2022/23 season in style by adding their second trophy. Jose Riveiro’s first season in South Africa has been a success, winning two cups and finishing second in the DSTV Premiership. Pirates may have not won convincingly of late or played an enterprising brand of football, but Riveiro has turned it into a pragmatic team that wins matches in difficult moments. 

The Buccaneers will compete in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) champions league, and Sekhukhune United – for making it to the final – in the CAF Confederation Cup. 

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