Bongani Ndulula converted a stoppage-time penalty to give Orlando Pirates a 3-2 win over Mamelodi Sundowns today in the first leg of their South African Top 8 Cup semi-final. Man-of-the-match Tlou Segolela was pulled down by Surprise Moriri and young substitute Ndulula calmly placed the spot-kick into the left corner while goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands dived the other way.
Pirates led and trailed before a 20,000 crowd at Orlando Stadium in an exciting, chance-filled game that was a major improvement on the drab goalless draw between Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax Cape Town in the other first leg yesterday. Thulasizwe Mbuyane had Pirates ahead within six minutes of the kick-off in late-winter sunshine and South Africa striker Katlego Mphela levelled by scoring off the rebound after Moeneeb Josephs had parried his penalty.
Mozambican wide midfielder Elias 'Dominquez' Pelembe was a constant threat to the Buccaneers and he set up Musa Nyatama to fire a Sundowns side coached by 1970s Dutch star Johan Neeskens in front with 19 minutes gone. Segolela equalised 11 minutes from full-time by pouncing on a weak clearance and drilling the ball into the roof of the net from inside the box.
Ajax host Chiefs next Saturday night and Sundowns have home advantage over Pirates the following afternoon in the return fixtures.