Mbesuma sends Pirates into quarters

Collins Mbesuma scored a goal in each half as Orlando Pirates eased into the quarterfinals of the Telkom Knockout with a 2-0 win over 10-man Black Leopards at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday evening.

The defending TKO champions dominated the game right from the off and were aided by a lacklustre showing from Lidoda Duvha, who showed little fight after having a man sent off six minutes before the end of the first half.

Leopards went with an attacking line-up that featured Rodney Ramagalela and Brian Amidu upfront, while Pirates fielded a five-man midfield with a debut for former Bidvest Wits player Lehlogonolo Masalesa.

Masalesa almost immediately showed his class, creating the opening goal in the sixth minute with a great cross from the right flank that was headed home by lone striker Collins Mbesuma.

Mbesuma had a good chance to double Pirates’ advantage just over ten minutes when he turned inside the Leopards penalty area and directed a shot on goal, but goalkeeper Posnett Omony made a comfortable save.

Just past the half hour mark Omony again denied Mbesuma after some slick build-up play by Bucs, while at the other end Ramagalela almost caught Moeneeb Josephs napping with a long range effort that sailed just over the crossbar.

By this stage the home side had begun to get a foothold in the game, but on 39 minutes they were reduced to ten men when left-back Thulani Ntshingila received his second booking and was sent for an early shower.

Mbesuma continued to look threatening in the second half and should have racked up a second goal on 57 minutes when Patrick Phungwayo provided an excellent cross from an overlapping run, but the Zambian headed over the top from close range.

Josephs was little more than a spectator once Leopards had been reduced to 10 men, but on 77 minutes he was forced into an excellent save, tipping over a goal-bound long range effort from the home side’s captain Mongezi Bobe.

Mbesuma hit the outside of the post on 79 minutes, but his search for an elusive second goal ended just a minute later. Omony gave away possession in a dangerous area, Ndumiso Mabena provided a low cross, and Mbesuma finished easily with a low shot to finally put the result beyond doubt.

Black Leopards 0
Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Mbesuma 6’ 80’)

Leopards: Omony, Dzaga, Xakane, Khoza, Ntshingila, Bobe, Nkambule, Munganga (Tshepe 73’), Monama, Ramagalela, Amidu (Manaka 49’)

Pirates: Josephs, Matlaba, Mahamutsa, Sangweni, Phungwayo, Myeni, Masalesa, Jali (Mabena 63’), Manyisa, Klate (Segolela 75’), Mbesuma (Ntshumayelo 84’)