Sport

Nedbank Cup trophy remains in Soweto after Pirates triumph

Orlando Pirates completed a brilliant comeback in the 2023/24 Nedbank Cup final at Mbombela Stadium earlier today, June 1, scoring twice in the final quarter of the game to down Mamelodi Sundowns.

The Orlando Pirates’ triumph in the Nedbank Cup final marks the second time they have beaten the DStv Premiership champions in a cup final this season, and means they retain this trophy, having won it last season.

Previously, the Pirates denied Sundowns glory in the MTN8 competition last year in the early stages of the 2023/24 season. Fresh off of their title-winning campaign in the DStv Premiership, the Sundowns would have been hoping to prevent this from happening for a second time.

Sipho Chaine pulled off a great penalty save in the 10th minute for Orlando Pirates. > Photos: Blake Linder

The final got under way on time, and it was Masandawana who seemed more ready for the occasion as they came firing out of the blocks in the opening exchanges. They won a penalty in the ninth minute, but Lucas Ribeiro was unable to make use of the chance with the Buccaneers’ shot-stopper Sipho Chaine pulling off a top save low to his left.

An eleated Monnapule Saleng celebrates Orlando Pirates taking the lead. > Photos: Blake Linder

From there, the momentum evened out for the remainder of the half, as matters were level at 0-0 when the whistle blew for half-time. Once again, the Sundowns came out onto the pitch the better of the two sides, and it only took nine minutes for them to take the lead courtesy of Themba Zwane.

Mbombela Stadium was packed to the rafters with fans for the Nedbank Cup final. > Photos: Blake Linder

They managed to hold onto this lead for only 17 minutes as Patrick Maswanganyi did what Ribeiro could not and slotted home a penalty in the 71st minute to draw Pirates level at 1-1. The final stages of the game swayed back and forth, neither side seemingly able to do enough to bag the much-needed match-winning goal.

Pirates’ match-winner Relebohile Mofokeng celebrates their triumph atop Makhehlene Makhaula’s shoulders. > Photos: Blake Linder

However, in the 94th minute, with the final play of the game, the 19-year-old Relebohile Mofokeng fired a shot past Ronwen Williams that secured Pirates the title. It’s their second title of the season, and also the second time they’ve won the Nedbank Cup at Mbombela Stadium, having previously done so in 2011.

Orlando Pirates are the 2023/24 Nedbank Cup winners. > Photos: Blake Linder

 
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