Orlando Pirates rob Stellenbosch at the death

Orlando Pirates came from behind to defeat Stellenbosch 2-1 in the first leg of the MTN8 semi-finals on Sunday afternoon in the Cape Winelands.

It was the Buccaneers who enjoyed the brighter start at Danie Craven Stadium. Centre forward Patrick Maswanganyi found himself in space and unleashed a rocket from a tight angle, but could only find the outside net.

On the half-hour mark, a careless studs-up challenge from Stellenbosch’s Thabo Moloisane left referee Luxolo Badi with little choice but to show him a straight red card, reducing the hosts to ten men.

Pirates almost drew first blood before the break when Zakhelele Lepasa’s cross was met with a glancing header from Monnapule Saleng, but the Maroons’ gloveman Sage Stephans was equal to the task, pulling off a stunning save. Deon Hotto then found the back of the net, but was later deemed offside.

Despite the pressure, Stellenbosch found themselves ahead at halftime thanks to a header from Ismael Toure, who put away a lovely corner kick past the Pirates’ defence.

In the second stanza, the Buccaneers levelled matters when that man Maswanganyi fired in a perfectly weighted cross for Lepasa, who headed the ball home.

While Pirates were doing all the playing, Stellenbosch looked as though they would hold on for the draw as the match went into its 94th minute. But Hotto had other ideas, as he jumped onto the end of another Maswanganyi cross to drill the ball into the bottom corner for the win.