Hot stars! Bucs out of cup
WHAT a mighty implosion, what a terrific win!
Cup specialists Orlando Pirates imploded as they sunk to a 2-1 Nedbank Cup defeat to Free State Stars here last night.
This win had nothing to do with luck, but all to do with hard work, grit and a witty coach against an ineffectual Bucs side.
As shocking as it may be, Ea Lla Koto punched above their weight, showed no respect for the defending champions as their brilliant run saw them gain passage into the quarterfinals through goals from Edward Manqele and Paulus Masehe.
Manqele found the breakthrough in the 70th minute, before Masehe headed in a corner in extra time.
To their credit, Pirates fought hard, getting back into the game through substitute Daine Klate's free kick at the death.
As he said afterwards, Stars coach Steve Komphela could leave a lasting legacy should he leave at the end of the season.
Stars defied the odds after the Buccaneers sent fans into a rapture with a 95th minute strike.
Klate thundered in the equaliser after on-form Manqele had put the visitors ahead in the 70th minute.
Stars defender Soriola Gege punted a long ball up-field, which Rooi Mahamutsa could have easily dealt with, but the defender contrived to head poorly onto the path of Manqele, who chipped Moeneeb Josephs for his third of the tournament.
As coach Augusto Palacios conceded afterwards, Bucs were terrible in midfield where they lacked coordination.
Upfront Benni McCarthy was starved of the ball, unable to combine with Ndumiso Mabena, who played deeper.
Stars, on the other hand, dominated their illustrious opponents, pushing men behind the ball as they dictated play on a terrible pitch.
The Buccaneers staged a late comeback to force the game to extra time.
"I felt I must let go after Bucs equalised. If ever we are to lose a cup game with dignity, this was it. But we risked everything and came out tops," said Komphela.
AmaZulu beat Witbank Spurs 1-0 in another Nedbank Cup last-16 game at Moses Mabhida stadium in Durban.
Black Leopards beat St Elois Lupopo of DRC 4-2 in the first leg of the Caf Confederation Cup at Giyani stadium in Limpopo yesterday.