Result: Aces 1-3 Pirates
Date: 8 October 2013
Venue: Mbombela Stadium
A brace from Lennox Bacela inspired Orlando Pirates past Mpumalanga Black Aces as they won 3-1 in a thrilling Telkom Knockout last 16 battle at Mbombela Stadium on Tuesday night.
The game started at pace with Oupa Manyisa looping a shot over in the second minute before Lennox Bacela failed to hit the target at the near post a minute later.
Tlou Segolela let fly from the edge of the area in the fifth minute but it was easy work for Bafana Nhlapo before Aces responded in the seventh minute.
A corner was whipped in to the near post where Mabhudi Khenyeza flicked a header on but it sailed just over the crossbar.
Khenyeza lashed a shot just wide moments later before Nhlapo pulled off a stunning save at the other end to prevent Bacela from finding the bottom corner.
The breathless action continued with Thabo Qalinge hitting the crossbar with a shot from outside the area before Nhlapo made an unreal point-blank save to stop Daine Klate.
Pirates would then suffer a blow when Siyabonga Sangweni came off on a stretcher, with word from the stadium being that he had suffered a torn Achilles tendon.
The opening goal would arrive in the 30th minute though when Bacela fought to get onto a cross to the near post by Happy Jele and buried an emphatic header.
Pirates were now swarming the Aces half as Klate curled a free-kick inches wide while Manyisa went close after beating the goalkeeper to the ball in the 35th minute.
Aces then lost a crucial defender with Eduardo Ferreira being stretchered off and Thabang Rooi replacing him.
The hosts were not out of the game though and two minutes into added time in the first-half, Khenyeza combined with Qalinge to open Pirates up and the former tapped in from close range to ensure the game went into the break level.
The second-half continued along the same lines, though it was Pirates who looked the more dangerous of the sides.
Matlaba powered a shot over when he seemed set to score while Segolela couldn't find the killer pass after a sublime piece of skill to burst free on the flank.
Jele hit the post with a long-range piledriver while the rebound was lashed wide and Segolela hit the post from a tight angle in the 69th minute.
Pirates were struggling to understand how they had not taken the lead as Bacela took too long to fire from inside the area while Rooi Mahamutsa nodded over an empty goal at the far post.
An almighty scramble then saw Bacela have a shot cleared off the line before some incredible blocks from the Aces defenders prevented other chances as they hung on.
Pirates would be rewarded for their persistence in the 86th minute though as they hesitantly passed the ball around inside the Aces area looking for a clear chance and Bacela eventually tucked his shot into the bottom corner.
Pirates stood firm in the final few minutes and would knock the final nail into the coffin when Manyisa’s fine run was picked out and he thumped his shot through the legs of the goalkeeper to confirm their place in the next round.
Pirates: Senzo Meyiwa, Happy Jele, Thabo Matlaba, Rooi Mahamutsa, Siyabonga Sangweni, Andile Jali, Oupa Manyisa, Thandani Ntshumayelo, Tlou Segolela, Lennox Bacela, Daine Klate.
Aces: Bafana Nhlapo, Abel Mabaso, Eduardo Ferreira, Danleigh Borman, Ofentse Nato, Themba Zwane, Clifford Ngobeni, Zamuxolo Ngalo, Thabo Qalinge, Onyekachi Okonkwo, Mabhudi Khenyeza.
Follow us on Twitter: @Soccer_Laduma