Chaine the hero as Pirates edge Sundowns to claim MTN8 title

Goalkeeper Sipho Chaine was the hero for Orlando Pirates as he led his club to a penalty shootout win over Mamelodi Sundowns in the MTN8 final at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night.

The two heavyweights played out a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes before a penalty shootout provided the platform for Chaine to write his name into Buccaneers legend, saving three kicks from Bongani Zungu, Junior Mendieta and Teboho Mokoena – teeing up Karim Kimvuidi to score the decisive kick and hand the Soweto club a 3-1 triumph.

Pirates successfully defended the MTN8 title they won in 2022 and lifted the trophy for a 12th time, while the Brazilians will reflect not only on their inability to score from the spot in the shootout, but also the many scoring opportunities they spurned through two-plus hours of football.

Sundowns created the first clear chance of the match, with Peter Shalulile capitalising on a defensive error before teeing up Themba Zwane in the fifth minute, but Pirates goalkeeper Sipho Chaine made an excellent one-one-one save.

On 28 minutes the Tshwane team created another great opportunity when Khuliso Mudau went free down the right of the penalty area and provided a perfect cross for the unmarked Shalulile at the far post, but the Namibian had an uncharacteristic miss as he headed the ball down into the ground and over the target.

Just past the half-hour mark Pirates suffered an injury blow when a distraught Nkosinathi Sibisi was forced off with a head injury – having earlier had a sickening mid-air collision with Mothobi Mvala – and Olisa Ndah came off the bench to take his place.

Goalless at the break, the second half saw ‘Downs make clever use of the strong wind to mostly keep Pirates pinned in their own half, though clear chances were hard to come by at either end of the field.

The Buccaneers were the first to make personnel changes in the second half, with Relebohile Mofokeng and Karim Kimvuidi introduced, while the Brazilians threw on Junior Mendieta in an effort to give them more creativity.

On 75 minutes another chance fell for Shalulile, who controlled a loose ball in the penalty area after a corner kick, but failed to keep his volley on target. The incident followed immediately after a strong appeal for hand-ball by Bandile Shandu in his own penalty area.

Seven minutes later further pressure from the team in yellow handed a shooting chance to Marcelo Allende, but his low effort was well smothered by Chaine.

The final chance in regulation time went the way of Pirates’ Monnapule Saleng, but he fired a shot into the side netting to see the game head to an extra 30 minutes.

Sundowns piled on the pressure in the first half of extra time, having two vociferous penalty appeals – neither of which were worthy of a spot kick – while the second half was more evenly matched and had only one notable highlight, as Mendieta found the back of the net from close range on the 118th minute but saw his effort correctly ruled out due to an earlier offside.

The shootout followed, with Chaine dominating thanks to three exceptional saves, as Pirates took full advantage of their opponent’s inability to kill off the game when they had the chance.

Orlando Pirates 0

Mamelodi Sundowns 0

After extra time – Pirates won 3-1 on penalties

Pirates: Chaine, Shandu (Mako 90+2’), Xoki, Sibisi (Ndah 34’), Hotto, Monare, Timm (Baloni 101’), Maswanganyi (Kimvuidi 72’), Saleng, Erasmus (Kapinga 101’), Lepasa (Mofokeng 72’)

Sundowns: Williams, Coetzee (Mkhulise 111’), Mvala, Boutouil, Mudau (Kekana 103’), Mokoena, Allende, Modiba (Maboe 91’), Maema (Mendieta 73’), Zwane (Maseko 91’), Shalulile (Zungu 103’)