Orlando Pirates have booked a place in the quarterfinals of the Telkom Knockout after edging Golden Arrows 1-0 in a last 16 match at Princess Magogo Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Buccaneers claimed the win thanks to a first-half strike from Thabo Qalinge, who was the most creative player on display, but the visitors’ defenders also deserve great credit for a battling effort against Abafana Bes’thende’s mobile attack.
Arrows began the match with great confidence, but it was Pirates who created the early chances, with Justin Shonga denied by Nkosingiphile Gumede at close range in the 11th minute, followed by a glancing header onto the post from Thabo Qalinge five minutes later.
The home side’s best chance of the first half arrived on the 30-minute mark when Zolani Nkombelo provided a teasing cross from the left which was touched just wide by striker Lerato Lamola.
On 35 minutes the Buccaneers broke the deadlock, with the excellent Qalinge running onto a flick-on from Lorch before lobbing the on-rushing Gumede to find the back of the net and make it 1-0.
Qalinge continued his magic early in the second half and on 51 minutes he burst through the Arrows defence, only to be denied at the last second by a crucial intervention from Nkombelo.
Abafana Bes’thende blew a great chance to equalise in the 67th minute, with Knox Mutizwa left unmarked to have a free header from a corner kick, but the Zimbabwean put his effort over the target.
On 82 minutes the Durban side created another great chance when a flick-on put Siphelele Magubane in on goal, but the attacking midfielder saw his powerful effort turned away by goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane.
That chance signaled the start of a siege on Pirates’ goal in the dying stages, but try as they might, Golden Arrows couldn’t find a way to put the ball in the back of the net and exit the TKO in the first round.
Golden Arrows 0
Orlando Pirates (1) 1 (Qalinge 35’)
Arrows: Gumede, S. Dube, Mngwengwe, Mzava, Nkombelo, Mahachi (Jappie 65’), Shongwe (Chideu 71’), Bilankulu, Magubane, Mutizwa, Lamola (Sibiya 46’)
Pirates:Mabokgwane, Maela, Nyauza, Chabalala, Matlaba, Sarr, Makola, Qalinge, Lorch (Mobara 73’), Shonga (Rakhale 63’), Kutumela (Shitolo 85’)