Bidvest Wits beat Orlando Pirates 3-2 on penalties (3-3 after extra-time) in a thrilling Nedbank Cup fixture at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Sunday that will live long in the memory.
The Clever Boys looked down and out after squandering a two goal advantage and having Elias Pelembe sent off, but Gift Motupa scored in the first minute of stoppage-time in extra time to send the game to a penalty shootout.
After Kabelo Dlamini blazed his effort wide of goal Lorenzo Gordinho kept his cool – on debut – to book Wits’ place in the last-16.
Thembinkosi Lorch, Happy Jele and Zakhele Lepasa found the back of the net after goals from Bienvenu Eva Nga and Deon Hotto had given Wits a two goal lead at the break.
Eva Nga scored his first goal for the Clever Boys with 28 minutes on the clock in Orlando. The burly forward on target from the spot after Fortune Makaringe was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area.
Deon Hotto doubled the visitors advantage on the cusp of halftime. The Namibian raced onto a long ball from Ricardo Goss, outmuscled Siphesihle Ndlovu before rasping a low shot past Joris Delle to silence the home fans.
Pirates looked a different team after the break and pulled a goal back through Thembinkosi Lorch in the 69th minute following a sustained spell of pressure.
Jele levelled matters six minutes later as he rose above Goss to nod home from a Luvuyo Memela cross.
The drama continued into extra-time as Pirates were awarded a penalty following a foul by Phathutshedzo Nange. Wits felt they should’ve had a penalty of their own moments earlier after Motupa had gone down at the other end of the pitch, which led to Victor Gomes sending off Pelembe who protested the match official’s decision.
Lepasa converted from the spot and Pirates looked sure for victory against the 10-men of Wits, but Motupa had other ideas as he levelled matters with virtually the final kick of extra-time.
Wits duly came up trumps from the spot as they booked their place in the next round with a victory that will be fondly remembered by the Clever Boys.
Orlando Pirates (0) 3 (Lorch 69′ Jele 75′ Lepasa 105+4′)
Bidvest Wits (2) 3 (Eva Nga 28′ pen. Hotto 45′ Motupa 120+1′)
Bidvest Wits won 3-2 on penalties.
Orlando Pirates: Delle; Nyauza, Jele, Maela (Shonga 62′), Mabaso (Ndengane 12′), Ndlovu (Dlamini 46′), Makaringe, Pule, Lorch, Memela, Lepasa.
Bidvest Wits: Goss, Hlanti, Gordinho, Mkhwanazi, Hlatshwayo, Monare, Nange, Domingo (Alexander 71′) , Hotto, Sekgota (Pelembe 65′), Eva Nga (Motupa 65′).