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Stars crowned MTN8 champions

PLATINUM Stars lifted the MTN8 for the first time when they defeated Orlando Pirates 3-1 on penalties at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night.

The match ended in a 1-1 draw in open play after Thabo Matlaba had scored late in the second half of regulation time to cancel out Robert Ng’ambi’s opener.

However, it was Allan Freese’s side who kept their cool to prevail on penalties as Pirates were unable to convert three of their spot kicks.

Dikwena started the match brightly and came close to opening the scoring in the fourth minute when Siphelele Mthembu collected the ball on the right side of the box, but his shot was deflected wide.

Pirates then started to dominate possession and had their first shot on target in the 21st minute when Kermit Erasmus collected the ball outside the box before unleashing a powerful strike which Siyabonga Mpontshane fumbled before gathering on his second attempt.

Three minutes later Erasmus produced a great turn on the left before drilling the ball across goal, but this time his effort was deflected over the crossbar.

Erasmus continued to cause problems for Stars and on the half hour mark went on a solo run on the left before cutting inside to switch the ball to his right foot, only to send his strike over the crossbar.

The Buccaneers continued to pile on the pressure and in the 39th minute Tlou Segolela found Happy Jele on the right corner of the box, but the fullback directed his low shot wide of the upright.

Roger De Sa’s men had two more chances to take the lead before the break, but Manyisa fired straight at Mpontshane in the 42nd minute, while Rooi Mahamutsa headed wide from Segolela’s corner in added time.

However, it was Dikwena who drew first blood two minutes into the second half when Ng’ambi headed home from close range after Tintswalo Tshabalala’s in-swinging free kick was flicked on at the near post.

Pirates had a chance to reply in the 50th minute when substitute Thabo Matlaba broke down the left flank before sending a teasing cross into the box, but Jele could only send his header over the crossbar.

Four minutes later Lennox Bacela did well to knock Matlaba’s cross down for Erasmus on the right, but the latter hesitated before shooting wide of the near post.

Erasmus did get the ball into the back of the net in the 65th minute when he was put through on goal in the centre of the box, but the flag was up for offside and the goal was ruled out.

With Pirates committing men forward, Stars had opportunities to catch them on the break and in the 82nd minute Andile Jali was forced to bring down substitute Mogakolodi Ngele outside the box.

The Botswana international dusted himself off to take the resulting free kick and managed to get his dipping effort on target, but Senzo Meyiwa did well under pressure to keep the ball out.

Pirates eventually found the equaliser at the other end two minutes later when Matlaba collected the ball a long way out and skipped past his marker before unleashing a swerving rocket which left Mpontshane rooted between the posts.

The Buccaneers came close to stealing the game just a minute later when Bacela was offered room to shoot inside the penalty area, only for his shot to drift wide of the upright, as the match went on to extra time.

Malongoane came close to firing Pirates ahead for the first time in the 103rd minute following a great run and cross from Matlaba on the left, but the winger arrived a second too late and was unable to make contact.

Then in the second half of extra time both sides had chance to decide the match within open play, but Mpontshane pulled off a good save to deny Matlaba in the 113th minute, while Ngele blasted his shot over the crossbar two minutes later.

Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Matlaba 84’)
Platinum Stars (0) 1 (Ng’ambi 48’)
 Penalties:

Orlando Pirates:-
Successful: Jali
Unsuccessful: Mahamutsa, Mabena, Bacela

Stars:- Successful: Mere, Botes, Ngele
Unsuccessful: Chinyama

Teams:

Pirates: Meyiwa, Mahamutsa, Jele, Phungwayo (Matlaba 41’), Sangweni, Masalesa, Manyisa, Klate (Mabena 82’), Segolela (Malongoane 72’), Erasmus, Bacela

Stars: Mpontshane, Mere, Gumede, Mhlongo, Ng’ambi, Malokase (Ngele 74’), Sarr, Tshabalala, Mthembu (Chinyama 99’), Msomi (Botes 86’), Ngwepe.-Backpage TXT

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