Pirates failed to defend MTN8 Title Last Night

Three well-taken goals by Ashley Hartog, Clifford Mulenga and Mabhuti Khenyeza were enough to take SuperSport United into the MTN8 final after a drama-filled semifinal tie at Orlando Stadium.

The score was 0-0 at the interval, but after Benni McCarthy was sent off just before halftime, it was always going to be tough for Bucs after the break.

The game started at a chaotic pace and it took about ten minutes for the players to begin putting their foot on the ball, slowing it down and thinking about the game.

Pirates settled first in midfield with Andile Jali taking responsibility and stamping his authority on the game. But SuperSport did well to press the Pirates backline high up the field, which resulted in a few good chances for the visitors to score in the opening half.

It took until the 14th minute for the first real chance of the match to arrive. But Mor Diouf, at the far post, tried a spectacular volley, which flew way over the crossbar when a header may have been a better option.

Roscoe Pietersen would have expected his first time volley from some way outside the danger area to be his debut goal for SuperSport United, but Moeneeb Josephs showed a strong pair of hands to punch away his thunderous strike in the 21st minute.

Two minutes later Nathan Paulse got the better of Lucky Lekgwathi and fired in a volley from inside the area following George Maluleka’s ball into the danger zone. But Josephs was well positioned to save.

In the 32nd minute, George Maluleka’s swerving free kick beat the wall and had the right height on it, but just flew wide of Joseph’s near post.

Two minutes later Sifiso Myeni turned Pietersen inside out and got a clear sight of goal on his left foot, but his driven shot went straight at Fernandez.

A minute before halftime Benni McCarthy was sent off for a second yellow card offence after a heated scuffle with Franklin Cale.

Cale had fouled Daine Klate and McCarthy used the opportunity to have a go at Cale and seemingly try to unsettle him and the SuperSport players. Both of them got booked for their exchanges, but McCarthy carried on having a go at Cale after the yellow cards had been issued and referee Robert Smith dismissed him.

In the 60th minute Fernandez did brilliantly to deny Pirates fullback Matlaba, who got into the danger area and powered a volley at goal. The SuperSport ‘keeper got a fingertip to the shot and it cannoned off the crossbar and out of danger.

But two minutes later Matsatsantsa opened the scoring when Ashley Hartog did very well to swivel his body and direct volley into the far corner of goal, which made it difficult for Josephs to save.

After the goal the second half became more and more difficult for ten-man Pirates as SuperSport began to make use of their one man advantage.

Then in the 79th minute Zuma and Clifford Mulenga combined really well to put Mulenga through on goal and the Zambian international buried his first-time shot to take the game away from Pirates.

But Mabhuti Khenyeza made it 3-0 to the visitors with a thunderous shot across goal after he did really well to ride the attempted challenge of Manyisa.

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