Telkom Knockout Cup: Dikwena Stun Pirates to be crowned Champs
Platinum Stars beat Orlando Pirates 2-1 to be crowned Telkom Knockout Cup Champions in a thrilling final match played at the Mbombela Stadium on Saturday night.
The Buccaneers took the lead in the 30th minute via their captain Lucky Lekgwathi and did not rest on their laurels but two late second-half goals by substitute Mokgokolodi Ngele were enough for Dikwena to upset Orlando Pirates for the second time this season after they beat the same club in the penalty shoot-out in the MTN8 Cup final in September.
“I am happy for the technical staff, the board, the players, and everybody associated with the club. This is another great win for us tonight, and hard luck to Orlando Pirates,” said Platinum Stars interim coach Allan Freese after the match.
Orlando Pirates coach Roger de Sa started with Rooi Mahamutsa who was out since their semi-final match against Supersport United in November, and midfielder Oupa Manyisa was back in the line-up after missing their last league match which they also lost to Bloemfontein Celtic at home a week ago.
Platinum Stars were happy to see Namibian international striker Henrico Botes making it to the starting line-up after he was doubtful with an injury and defender and captain Vuyo Mere was back in the fold for Allen Freese’s men.
Platinum Stars started the better side in the opening stages and they almost took an early lead when Orlando Pirates defender Rooi Mahamutsa gave away possession and Robert Ng’ambi almost used that to his advantage when he passed by Henrico Botes in the edge of the area but his shot sailed narrowly over the bar in the 7th minute.
Another chance for Dikwena came in the 14th minute when winger Tintswalo Tshabalala crossed for Solomon Mathe who was in a point-black range but his first touch let him down. The first clear cut chance for Orlando Pirates came three minutes later when full-back Happy Jele had only the goalkeeper to beat but took too long to pull the trigger and allowed Robert Nga’ambi to clear the ball in his feet before Vuyo Mere beat Sifiso Myeni to the ball to clear the follow up.
In the half-hour mark, The Buccaneers took the lead when Daine Klate’s swinging free-kick was headed past a helpless Siyabonga Mpontshane by Lucky Lekgwathi to give his side the lead. The home side almost equalised five minute later but Robert Ng’ambi could only direct his header wide of the mark.
Then Tintswalo Tshabalala tried his luck four minute before the interval but his effort from the edge of the area was easily held by Senzo Meyiwa before Lennox Bacela, who has been quiet on the night, saw his over-head kick go wide of the right hand post of Siyabonga Mpontshane in the stroke of half-time.
Orlando Pirates had a chance to go to the break with a two goal caution when Tshepo Gumede fouled Sifiso Myeni just outside the area, but Daine Klate’s curling free-kick was wide of the target as the scoreboard remained 1-0 to Bucs at the break.
The Buccaneers started where they left off in the first half as they almost forced Platinum Stars to concede an own goal four minutes after the restart when Daine Klate’s low cross from the left hand flank was met by Luvolwethu Mpeta who was denied by his own goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpotshane who pulled of a great save to save his side from more blushes.
Orlando Pirates came threatening again in the hour mark against a run of play that saw them catch Platinum Stars on the break but Sifiso Myeni lost his footing inside the area with black shirts arriving in numbers.
Platinum Stars coach made double substitution after the hour-mark bringing on Mduduzi Nyanda and Mokgokolodi Ngele and the pair made their mark in the 78th minute when Nyanda found Ng’ambi just outside area who put Ngele through on goal and attacking midfielder chipped the ball over onrushing Senzo Meyiwa to put the game on level terms, 1-1.
The Botswana international Mokgokolodi Ngele looked too hard to be contained by the defence of Orlando Pirates when Lindokuhle Mbatha found him just outside the area and unleashed a left-footed strike that found the top corner of the net giving Senzo Meyiwa no chance. 2-1
Orlando Pirates had a penalty waved away by referee Khulasande Qongqo when Khetokwakwe Masuku looked to have been brought down by Platinum Stars defender in the optional time but Dikwena held for another upset and clinched their second cup in less than three months.
Orlando Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele, Matlaba, Mahamutsa, Lekgwathi ©, Manyisa, Segolela (Masuku 62’), Klate, Jali, Myeni, Bacela (Mbesuma 70’).
Platinum Stars: Mpontshane, Mere © (Semenya 81) , Gumede, Mhlongo, Mpeta, Mathe, Ng’ambi, Saar (Ngele 65’), Mbatha, Tshabalala (Nyanda 67’), Botes.