Shonga winner delivers more Pirates pain for Chiefs
Zambian Justin Shonga scored a late winner as Orlando Pirates advanced to the final of the Telkom Knockout with a deserved 2-1 Soweto Derby victory over Kaizer Chiefs at a sold out Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
The victory means Chiefs have now gone 11 games without beating bitter rivals Pirates, the longest run without success for either side in the Derby in the 48-year history of the fixture.
Thembinkosi Lorch had put Pirates ahead but within five minutes Chiefs were level through Colombian forward Leonardo Castro.
Pirates looked the better side though and found a deserved winner late on through the persistence of Shonga.
They will meet either Baroka FC or defending champions Bidvest Wits in the final, with those two teams in action in Polokwane on Sunday. The final will be played in Port Elizabeth on December 8.
There had been injury concerns over Vincent Pule and Innocent Maela in the build-up to the game, but Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic was able to include both in his starting line-up, as well as a surprise placed for striker Thabiso Kutumela.
Chiefs had Lebo Manyama back from an elbow fracture, but otherwise went with the players who have done duty in the last few matches, with the duo of Castro and Khama Billiat leading the line.
Pirates started the better of the sides and it was perhaps no surprise when they took the lead on 13 minutes.
Goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane punted the ball upfield and when Chiefs defender Mario Booysen misjudged the flight, it allowed Pule to race clear down the right-hand side.
His perfect cross with the outside of the boot fell for Lorch around 10 yards from goal and he expertly turned the ball into the corner of the net.
Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune almost spilled a Pule shot into the path of Kutumela but managed to gather just in time, before the AmaKhosi were level.
Like they goal they conceded, it came from a defensive error as a hopeful ball into the box was allowed to bounce by Pirates defender Happy Jele and there was then hesitation with Mabokgwane over who would clear the danger.
Castro pounced on the loose ball and turned it home with a typical poacher's effort from just a few yards out.
Chiefs felt they should have had a penalty when Manyama went down under the challenge of Jele in the box, while at the other end Pule just failed to get on the end of an excellent cross from Lorch with only Khune to beat.
Xola Mlambo saw his 30-yard effort drop onto the crossbar early in the second period, though Khune appeared to have the shot covered.
At the other end Booysen blasted wide from the edge of the box after Mabokgwane had made a hash of collecting a high ball and the ball fell to the big defender.
Pule showed more dazzling footwork as he danced past two defenders and might have shot, but instead attempted a cross that was just out of reach of Shonga at the back post.
Both teams appeared tired in the second half but the winning goal came six minutes from time when Chiefs could not clear a blocked shot.
When the ball was chipped back in, Shonga is given time to mis-kick his first effort, get up and turn the ball home.