Chiefs blunder sees Pirates clinch cup
A rare mistake by top South African goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune opened things up for Orlando Pirates to snatch a 1-0 victory over bitter rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the Top 8 Cup final on Saturday.
Khune allowed a long-range Oupa Manyisa shot 17 minutes into extra time to bounce and then fly over his outstretched arms into the net and settle the final contest.
Chiefs Serbian coach Vladimir Vermezovic absolved Khune of blame, pointing the finger instead at defenders who failed to close down Manyisa, but the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ goalkeeper was a dejected figure when the final whistle blew.
The winning goal before the crowd at Soccer City completed a remarkable couple of weeks for Manyisa, who struck the long-range equaliser that took the title holders to the final at the expense of Mamelodi Sundowns. Before his goals against Sundowns and Chiefs, the midfielder had scored just once and often battled to make the starting line-up in a four-year career with the Buccaneers.
It was a deserved victory for former African champions Pirates, who maintained their recent supremacy over their long-term rivals.
For a long time it seemed like only penalties would separate the two clubs in the latest episode of the rivalry, with clearcut chances rare in a game dominated in the midfield.
The opening half was a huge let-down with poor passing, crossing and set pieces and neither Khune nor Pirates goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs seriously tested. On the rare occasions when danger threatened, centre-backs Siyaobonga Sangweni of Pirates and Dominic Isaacs of Chiefs were outstanding and the game reached half-time without either side having a shot on target.
Pirates introduced Ndulula for Ndumiso Mabena early in the second half and the aerial power of the Sea Robbers troubled Chiefs with Sangweni twice going close.
Repeatedly forced to defend, Chiefs came close to breaking the deadlock twice within a mintue in the closing stages of regular time as a shot and a flashing header from substitute Sthembiso Ngcobo went close before Manyisa sealed the narrow victory in extra time.