Orlando Pirates become the second side to book their spot in the Carling Knockout Cup after beating Cape Town Spurs 2-0 at the Orlando Stadium on Friday night.
Bucs coach Jose Riveiro handed star player Thembinkosi Lorch his first start of the season, following a lengthy injury. Riveiro was justified as Lorch won the Man of the Match accolade that comes with a cool R100 000 cheque.
On the other side, Spurs coach Vasilis Manousakis made a big call as he started with his talisman Ashley Cupido on the bench.
In a half of not so many clear-cut goal scoring opportunities, the Buccaneers came closest to scoring in the 24th minute when captain Tapelo Xoki struck the woodwork with a bullet header, following a well-worked cross from Patrick Maswanganyi.
The visitors did, however, cause a scare when Luvuyo Phewa dazzled past the Bucs defense with ease and found striker Therlo Moosa on the byline, but his shot went a whisker away off the goal line.
Riveiro made a forced substitution, when number one goalkeeper Sipho Chaine picked up and injury, which saw former TS Galaxy shot stopper, Melusi Buthelezi make his official debut for the Sea Robbers.
At the stroke of half-time, Pirates could have gone into the break leading by two goals, after Deon Hotto saw his effort cleared off the line by Nazeer Allie and Kermit Erasmus missing a free header.
Riveiro’s men came out guns blazing in the second half, when they took the game to the visitors and applied pressure to their defense. Their patience finally paid off in the 58th minute when Evidence Makgopa won his side a penalty kick after he was brought down by Spurs goalkeeper Zama Dlamini inside the box.
Xoki stepped up and made no mistake by finding the back of the net after sending Dlamini the wrong way.
Moments later, Erasmus doubled their lead with an easy goal after he dribbled past the keeper, following some good passage of play and exquisite through pass from Makgopa.
The Urban Warriors’ struggles, since the beginning of the season, were visible on the pitch as they could not cause any trouble for the Pirates defense. The only pragmatic moment of their game was the introduction of teenage sensation Luke Baartman, who came on in the dying stages of the game.
Riveiro and his charges held on and marched to the quarterfinals of the knockout competition, while Spurs suffered their ninth straight defeat of the season since they gained promotion to the SA topflight.