Orlando Pirates managed to avoid a Dondol Stars situation with a 2-0 victory over All Stars last night at Wits Stadium.
Second half goals from MOTM Monnapule Saleng, and second half substitute, Thembinkosi Lorch were enough to see the Buccaneers through to the round of sixteen.
In the first half, things didn’t go Orlando Pirates’ way as the youthful Stars side put on a good fight.
All Stars compact defensive structure.
For the whole of the first half, Amabhakaniya only managed a disappointing two attempts at goal, with just one on target.
And that was thanks to a well organized compact defensive structure adopted by All Stars, with Sesane, Baartman and Baloni instrumental in their defensive block.
They did well not to allow Orlando Pirates any space to manoeuvre in the inside channels, with centre forward, Dzvukamanja lost in the forest of All Stars black shirts, making it difficult for Kabelo Dlamini and Saleng to locate him with threatening passes into the Stars penalty area.
All Figareido and no help for Stars in attack.
All Stars could not match their first half defensive display with more effective offensive play.
In attack, Figareido shouldered most of the responsibility, being the only real threat to the Orlando Pirates defense.
Nyembe and Mofokeng played in patches, and showed a lack of experience with their decision making in the final third.
The Lorch effect.
The introduction of Thembinkosi Lorch changed the complexion of the game, with Orlando Pirates suddenly looking more threatening.
Dzvukamanja, Ndlondlo and Saleng started to get more and more into the groove as All Stars began to look rattled with Orlando Pirates piling on the pressure.
Lorch’s incisive passes and quick combination play were what Orlando Pirates lacked in the first half, and he duly showed Kabelo Dlamini how things are done in the number 10 role.
It had to be Saleng.
Orlando Pirates finally broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute when Saleng finished from close range after an inviting low cross from Dzvukamanja.
After Saleng’s goal, the cracks became more visible in the All Stars who looked a shadow of their compact first half selves.
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Lorch finishes what he started.
With the All Stars defence suddenly in sixes and sevens, Thembinkosi Lorch took the opportunity to properly announce his return from a long injury lay off.
He started a move from just outside the box with his trademark combination play, interchanging passes with Dzvukamanja before finishing with a low shot from close range.
Important lessons learned by All Stars.
Sinethemba Badela and his charges did not exit the Nedbank Cup empty handed, as they left Wits Stadium with a bag full of football lessons.
For one, they learned the importance of being clinical in their offensive transitions, compliment their good defensive organization.
And that is something they will need in abundance if they want to make their promotion push a reality.
As for Orlando Pirates, they would like nothing more than adding another trophy in their cabinet by going all the way in the Ke Yona Cup.