Michaelson Ntokozo Gumede

By Ntokozo Gumede


Pirates boot Sundowns out of MTN8

Mannupule Saleng scored a second-half brace to help the Buccaneers into the final.

Mannupule Saleng was the hero for Orlando Pirates on Saturday, as they trampled over Mamelodi Sundowns 3-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium to reach the MTN8 final.

It was also a fine day for Buccaneers striker Kermit Erasmus who joined Pirates before the end of the transfer window after a frustrating time at Sundowns.

Erasmus’s opening goal early in the first half helped the Happy People open the floodgates, while Man-of-the-Match Saleng continued to punish Masandawana with two goals in the second stanza.

The Buccaneers section of supporters in Polokwane – Sundowns used the Peter Mokaba Stadium as their ‘home’ ground for this semifinal – erupted into cheers when the exciting Saleng took Aubrey Modiba to the cleaners, and managed to keep the ball in play before playing in a cross to Erasmus. The Pirates striker – who is enjoying a new lease of life with the Soweto giants – made no mistake as he headed in to beat Ronwen Williams.

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Saleng scored the first of his brace in the 82nd minute with a cool and composed finish to beat Williams. Sundowns defenders, however, were caught napping when they thought Zakhale Lepasa had failed to keep the ball in play, but play continued as the likes of Grant Kekana and Rushine De Reuck momentarily froze. Lepasa played the square ball to Saleng, who had nerves of steel and scored.

Modiba made matters worse for Downs in the dying moments of the game after what could be deemed an act of foolishness. Teboho Mokoena tackled Saleng, then while the Pirates star was on the ground, Modiba followed up by kicking the ball at Saleng. But as the saying goes, you cannot keep a good man down.

Saleng put the final nail on the coffin with a sublime curler in stoppage time to boot out Sundowns.

The Happy People will await the winners of Sunday’s second semifinal between Kaizer Chiefs and AmaZulu. The first encounter played out to a one-all draw and the decider is set to take place at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday afternoon.