Orlando Pirates are on track for a rare domestic cup double, while Kaizer Chiefs will begin their eighth season without a trophy.
The Buccaneers required extra time to defeat Amakhosi 2-1 in front of a raucous FNB Stadium crowd on Saturday afternoon, securing a spot in the Nedbank Cup final on May 27 at Loftus in Pretoria.
Kermit Erasmus and substitute Sandile Mthethwa scored in each half to earn the Pirates the chance to face the winner of the other semifinal on Sunday between Stellenbosch and Sekhukhune United.
Midfielder Yusuf Maart scored the Chiefs’ goal. This result also breaks the Chiefs’ supremacy over the Pirates, since Amakhosi entered this match on a five-match winning streak over the Buccaneers, all of which were league matches.
Pirates won the MTN8 earlier this season, while Chiefs last won a major prize in 2015, when they won the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
There were some concerns before the game because the stadium had hosted the very popular Monster Jam event the previous weekend, but the pitch held up well enough to provide a good contest.
Pirates coach Jose Riveiro chose a balanced lineup that included Sipho Chaine in goal, Nkosinathi Sibisi, Tapelo Xoki, Bandile Shandu, and Paseka Mako in defence, and Miguel Timm, Thabang Monare, and Kabelo Dlamini in midfield.
Terence Dzvukamanja, Monnapule Saleng, and Kermit Erasmus were charged with scoring crucial goals in order to end the Chiefs’ current supremacy.
Arthur Zwane, the Chiefs’ coach, selected a side that included Brandon Petersen in goal, Edmilson Dove, Siyabonga Ngezana, Sifiso Hlanti, and Reeve Frosler in defence, and Dilllian Solomons, Samkelo Zwane, Yusuf Maart, and Siyethemba Sithebe in midfield.
Zwane put his faith in Ashley du Preez and Christian Saile to score goals and secure their sixth consecutive victory over their opponents, but it was not to be.
Earlier in the game, Chiefs striker Saile forgot how to finish, as he completely missed the ball inside the box after Du Preez produced a telling cross.
Erasmus finished off a quick play begun by Timm from deep in the Pirates’ midfield, and the Chiefs were suitably punished immediately after Saile’s woeful error.
Timm was given the freedom to control the ball before passing it to Saleng on the right wing, who found Erasmus, who put the ball in the net.
On the stroke of halftime, Bandile Shandu was stretchered off the pitch with what appeared to be a catastrophic injury after colliding with Reeve Frosler in the air.
To compensate for Shandu’s forced departure, Riveiro brought in Deon Hotto, who played left back with Mako going to the right. Chiefs equalised in the 78th minute when attacking midfielder Maart connected with a cross from Solomons, forcing the game into extra time.
During the second half of extra time, Mthethwa connected with a long-range feed from Ndlondlo to head home the game-winning goal, ensuring Pirates’ spot in the final.