Vincent Pule scored the only goal of the game as Orlando Pirates defeated Chippa United in a Telkom Knockout last clash at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
The substitute’s strike on the hour mark decided an evenly-matched game between the Buccaneers and the Chilli Boys – with the latter putting in a fine performance on the road which arguably deserved more than a narrow defeat.
Chippa got away with an early defensive clanger as Augutine Mulenga looked to stay on his feet in the 18-yard area rather than tumble under a clumsy challenge – which surely would have brought the hosts a penalty kick.
On 16 minutes Pirates created another opening in attack, but this time midfielder Xola Mlambo headed over the crossbar, failing to trouble Chippa goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
The Chilli Boys grew into the game and the likes of Kurt Lentjies and Mark Mayambela became influential figures, with the former particularly unlucky to be flagged offside in a very promising position just after the half hour mark.
In the 36th minute Chippa needed Akpeyi to make a fine save, as Justin Shonga turned on the edge of the box and got a shot away, only to be denied by an acrobatic stop from the Nigerian ‘keeper. The away side soon made a tactical switch as Mayambela was withdrawn to allow former Pirates man Daine Klate to come on, but the game remained goalless up to the halftime break.
Pirates made a change at the start of the second half as they introduced Vincent Pule in place of Mulenga, and Shonga went close to opening the scoring as he whipped a shot direct from a free kick just wide of Akpeyi’s right-hand post.
Bucs went even closer to a goal in the 56th minute, as a penalty box melee in the wake of a corner kick saw Brazilian defender Marcelo da Silva slide in and direct a shot onto the upright, while Chippa soon spurned a great chance of their own on a counter attack.
A goal at either end seemed destined to arrive and on the hour mark the deadlock was finally broken: Pirates went 1-0 up through Pule, who turned home a hard, low cross from Mlambo after some poor defending from the Eastern Cape side.
Chippa turned to veteran attacker Andile Mbenyane to try and get them back in the contest, but Pirates showed good game management and were able to see out the narrow 1-0 win and advance into the quarterfinals.
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Pule 60’)
Chippa United 0
Pirates: Mabokgwane, Mobara, Jele, Marcelo, Maela, Motshwari, Nyatama (Makola 80’), Mlambo (Kutumela 70’), Lorch, Shonga, Mulenga (Pule 46’)
Chippa: Akpeyi, Malepe, Nsabiyumva, Macheke, Mokeke, Rakhale, Sangweni (Mbenyane 78’), Tlolane, Gamildien, Mayambela (Klate 42’), Lentjies (Manzini 59’)