Free State Stars got the last 16 round of the Nedbank Cup off to a stunning start by knocking out defending champions Orlando Pirates on Saturday evening.
Steve Komphela’s team were deserved 2-1 winners after extra time at Orlando Stadium thanks to goals from Edward Manqele and Paulus Masehe.
It is the first domestic cup defeat Pirates have suffered since losing last season’s Telkom Knockout final to Kaizer Chiefs, and Stars’ first outright cup win over the Soweto giants since 1989. It is Ea Lla Koto’s second win over Bucs this season, having beaten them 1-0 in the league back in September last year.
The first half was a scrappy affair for the most part, with both sides unable to find a regular rhythm of attacking play on what was a patchy playing surface at the Orlando Stadium. The hosts shaded ball possession, as one would expect, but it was the visiting Stars team who created the better scoring chances in the first 45 minutes.
In the 12th minute Edward Manqele showed great skill to slip past Lucky Lekgwathi and set up Mzikayise Mashaba with a great opportunity, but the midfielder’s left-footed shot was superbly saved by Moeneeb Josephs.
The Pirates goalkeeper made two further notable saves to deny Manqele and Mpho Makola in the remainder of the first half as Ea Lla Koto looked a potent attacking force whenever they managed to break forward.
Bucs’ strikers Benni McCarthy and Ndumiso Mabena showed plenty of endeavour, but they had little in the way of good serviced from their midfield and wide men, as Stars generally did a good job of neutralising Dikgang Mabalane and Tlou Segolela.
The second half continued in much the same vein as the first until Manqele broke the deadlock on 70 minutes. A hopeful ball forward from Stars was poorly dealt with by Rooi Mahamutsa, allowing Manqele to sprint free and lob the ball expertly over Josephs into an empty net.
Pirates laid siege to Stars’ goal in the remainder of normal time but they seemed unable to breach the visitors’ defence. However, with five minutes of injury time on the clock, Pirates made it 1-1 when Daine Klate struck home a superb free kick, sending the game to an extra 30 minutes.
Bucs created the better scoring chances in extra time, with substitute Rudolf Bester particularly guilty of missing a great opportunity on 101 minutes, but they were unable to capitalise on their dominance.
The hosts were made to pay for this on 114 minutes when former Bucs player Paulus Masehe scored a fantastic header from a corner kick, out-jumping the defence at the near post to find the back of the net and put Ea Lla Koto into the quarterfinals as 2-1 winners.