Pirates beat Chippa to book Nedbank Cup final date

Orlando Pirates have booked a place in the Nedbank Cup final early next month after they defeated Chippa United 3-1 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Kabelo Dlamini netted a brace of goals as the Buccaneers, the competition’s defending champions, gave themselves a shot at becoming the first back-to-back national cup champions since SuperSport United in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

The win continues Pirates’ outstanding form of late, with the team racking up six successive victories across all competitions and scoring 21 goals in the process.

After a delayed kick-off (due to large numbers of supporters still trying to make their way into the stadium at 3pm), Pirates almost claimed the lead inside the opening 30 seconds, with Tshegofatso Mabasa denied at close range by Chippa goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali.

Yet the Soweto side only had to wait until the fourth minute to open the scoring, with Kabelo Dlamini striking a superb effort direct from a free kick – the ball nestled in the bottom corner of the net and left Nwabali rooted to his spot on the goal line.

Chippa looked for a quick reply from a free kick of their own in the seventh minute, but Brooklyn Poggenpoel saw his effort flash over the crossbar.

On 19 minutes the Buccaneers were forced into an unplanned substitution, as Deon Hotto was replaced by Innocent Maela after suffering an unintentional kick to the head a short while earlier.

Chippa threatened to come back into the match after the 20 minute mark, creating a few promising attacking opportunities, but Pirates struck again shortly before the interval to take firm control of the match.

Patrick Maswanganyi provided a pull-back from the right by-line which was converted by Dlamini for his second goal of the game. Chippa protested for some form of infringement from Maswanganyi in the build-up – which made his marker Justice Chabalala put his hand up and effectively stop playing – but television replays suggested that Pirates were well within their rights to continue their attack.

Both teams made changes at the start of the second half, with Pirates introducing Miguel Timm and Chippa throwing on Papama Tyongwana and Elmo Kambindu in an effort to get back into the game.

And Kambindu duly pulled a goal back in the 63rd minute, lunging to meet Bienvenu Eva Nga’s excellent assist from the right of the penalty area and score from close range, reducing the deficit to 1-2.

Yet the Chilli Boys’ hopes of a stunning comeback were crushed in the 81st minute when Thapelo Xoki provided an athletic and improvised finish at the back post after meeting Maswanganyi’s in-swinging cross from the right to make it 3-1.

And the hosts were reduced to 10 men in the 89th minute when Eva Nga received a second yellow card for remonstrating with the referee and was sent off.

Pirates will face either Stellenbosch FC or Mamelodi Sundowns in the Nedbank Cup final on Saturday 1 June at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.

Chippa United (0) 1 (Kambindu 63’)

Orlando Pirates (2) 3 (Dlamini 4’ 41’, Xoki 81’)

Chippa: Nwabali, Kammies, Makhele, Chabalala, Modise (Mqokozo 90+1’), Poggenpoel, Francis (Maarman 70’), Martin (Kambindu 46’), Kwayiba (Mahlatsi 82’), Konqobe (Tyongwana 46’), Eva Nga

Pirates: Chaine, Monyane, Xoki, Sesane, Hotto (Maela 19’), Mbatha (Timm 46’), Makhaula, Dlamini (Sibisi 78’), Maswanganyi, Mofokeng (Saleng 87’), Mabasa (Makgopa 78’)