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Mofokeng Nets A Late Win As Pirates Beat Sundowns In The Nedbank Cup Final

  • June 1, 2024
  • 3 min read
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Mofokeng Nets A Late Win As Pirates Beat Sundowns In The Nedbank Cup Final

Orlando Pirates secured a thrilling 2-1 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup final at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday, retaining their trophy and completing a remarkable double over their rivals this season.

The match was heading for extra time when substitute Relebohile Mofokeng emerged as the hero. In a moment of brilliance, Mofokeng feigned a run, rolled the ball between the legs of Bongani Zungu, and cleverly toe-poked it past stranded Ronwen Williams in the final minute to seal the win for Pirates.

This victory marks back-to-back Nedbank Cup triumphs for Pirates, and their second win against Sundowns in a cup final this season, having previously bested them on penalties in the MTN8 final October 2023 encounter at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Sundowns, aiming for an unprecedented unique treble after securing the African Football League and DStv Premiership titles, were left disappointed and will have to wait for another shot at glory.

A packed stadium, sold out weeks in advance, witnessed a tense first half. The game kicked off 15 minutes late due to a slow influx of fans and congestion at entrances.

The early drama unfolded in the 16th minute when Deon Hotto was adjudged to have fouled Khuliso Mudau inside the box and referee Skhumbuzo Gasa pointed to the spot kick. Lucas Ribeiro Costa stepped up for the penalty, but Sipho Chaine produced a fantastic diving save to deny the Brazilian striker.

Both sides created opportunities in the first half, with Patrick Maswanganyi almost putting Pirates ahead but for a crucial save by Ronwen Williams.

Sundowns made a tactical change before the second half got underway, with coach Rulani Mokwena replacing Grant Kekana with Junior Mendieta in search of a breakthrough. Their persistence paid off in the 54th minute when Themba Zwane tapped in after a well-worked move by Costa, who left Innocent Maela stranded.

Pirates were forced to respond, and their equalizer arrived in the 71st minute. Maswanganyi appeared to have been pushed down by Aubrey Modiba in the penalty area, and the forward calmly converted from the spot to level the score.

The atmosphere crackled with anticipation as the game entered its final stages. Just when it seemed extra time was inevitable, Mofokeng’s moment of magic secured the victory for Pirates. The stadium erupted in celebration as the Buccaneers etched their names in Nedbank Cup history once again to win this competition for the fourth time and now level with Sundowns since the commercial bank took over as the sponsorship in 2008. Sundowns were the winners when Nedbank took over 18 years ago.

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Robin-Duke Madlala

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