Moroka Swallows striker Rudzaigh Gamildien put the disappointment of a failed move to Kaizer Chiefs behind him as he netted a first half brace on Saturday to dump reigning champions Orlando Pirates out of the MTN8 at the quarterfinal stage.
The Buccaneers pulled one back through Kabelo Dlamini’s penalty but couldn’t add to their tally as Josef Zinnbauer’s side endured a disappointing defeat in their opening match of the 2021/22 season.
For Gamildien, who had a superb 2020/21 campaign with the Birds, it was a great way to start again, after proposed move to Amakhosi fell through.
Pirates started the game very poorly, with their defence looking sloppy in the early stages.
Gamildien had a positive start to the game, putting Swallows in the lead through a well taken set piece in the 16th minute.
Things went from bad to worse for the Buccaneers. A failed clearance by Pirates keeper Richard Ofori gifted Gamildien his second goal of the match with a shot from outside the box in the 23rd minute.
Pirates weren’t about to drop their heads as they went in search of their first goal of the match.
The home side were awarded a penalty just before the 30th minute after Swallows ‘keeper Virgil Vries fouled Deon Hotto inside the box. Pirates striker Dlamini stepped up to take the penalty and managed to pull one back for the Buccaneers.
The Birds had a couple of chances to extend their lead from direct free kicks, but Gamildien wasn’t able to put them on target.
The game went into the break with the visiting team in the driver’s seat.
In the second half, Pirates had a chance to test Vries from a free-kick early in the game, but Dlamini put his attempt over the bar.
Swallows substitute Monnapule Saleng, who is on loan from Bucs, wasted a glorious opportunity after beating Pirates skipper Happy Jele for pace, but his intended cross for Gamildien inside the Bucs box was blocked on the hour mark.
Hotto got a chance to level matters for Pirates after a beautiful run in the 67th minute- the Namibian controlled the ball well, but his finish was very poor, putting his shot wide with only the ‘keeper to beat.
The Buccaneers threatened again with a cross from the right side landing in Fortune Makaringe’s path. However, the midfielder couldn’t connect well with the ball, with his shot going over with 12 minutes of regular time remaining.
Towards the end, Pirates sent more players up front in search for the all-important goal to take the game into extra-time. But the Birds rearguard remained solid as they moved into the last four of the Wafa Wafa tournament.