Orlando Pirates crashed out of the Carling Knockout after falling short in the penalty shootout that decided their quarterfinal clash against Richards Bay on Saturday.
Regulation time finished goalless at Moses Mabhida Stadium, sending the Buccaneers into their second shootout in as many cup fixtures at the venue. It was a rather uneventful start to the contest with only half-chances to show for both sides throughout the early part of the first period. Former Bucs defender Abel Mabaso did have a chance to put his side in the lead when he pounced on a loose ball in a dangerous area nine minutes after the first whistle but misplaced his shot at goal.
That was a rare chance for the hosts, who sat back as the Buccaneers did most of the attacking, but without finding a way through an organised defensive wall. This continued until late in the first half when Pirates came close to breaking the deadlock on a couple of occasions. The first opportunity came through Monnapule Saleng, who got on the end of a fine pass from Patrick Maswanganyi before his shot from a tight angle drew a save from Richards Bay keeper Philasande Manqele.
That occurred moments before the upright came to the home side’s rescue on the stroke of halftime after Deon Hotto found a touch amid a scramble inside the box, which sent the ball trickling towards goal. Pirates had to do a fair bit of defending early on in the second half, with Somila Ntsundwana and Yanela Mbuthuma central to the home side’s resurgence, but the back four held up well against the challenge.
The Buccaneers’ desperate search for a winner could have yielded results when they received a free kick right in front late in the contest, with Zakhele Lepasa stepping up to take in and forcing Manqele low to his left to keep out what looked like a goalbound attempt. In the end, neither side found the decisive strike, and it was straight to the shootout where Pirates were first to have a go.
Hotto took on the responsibility of taking the first spot kick but was unsuccessful in putting his side ahead. Boikanyo Komane converted his penalty, becoming the first of five Richards Bay players to find the target, while successful efforts from Tapelo Xoki, Lepasa, Maswanganyi, and Kimvuidi failed to hook the Soweto Giants back into the contest. It finished 5-4 in favour of the hosts, with the Buccaneers’ bid for a fourth successive domestic cup title ending in the quarterfinals.