Richards Bay have caused one of the biggest upsets in the inaugural Carling Knockout Cup. The Natal Rich Boyz booted out Orlando Pirates after beating them 5-4 in a penalty shootout at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday. The two teams played to a goalless draw in regulation and extra time.
Richards Bay made six changes to the team that lost to Cape Town City in their previous match, while Orlando Pirates made three changes to the team that lost to Cape Town Spurs midweek.
Pirates was the only Gauteng team left in the tournament. Both teams struggled to create any decent scoring opportunities in the opening minutes of the match. And it was the Buccaneers that had an opportunity in the 26th minute but Monnapuleng Saleng’s effort went over the bar.
And a few minutes later the visitors were in with another chance when Thembinkosi Lorch played a brilliant ball in the box, but striker Evidence Makgopa could not stay on his feet. The visitors almost scored a goal after Richards Bay lost a ball in a dangerous area, but Saleng’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Philasande Manqele.
Pirates were unlucky not to score with a scramble in the box, but Deon Hotto’s effort hit the post and the ball was eventually cleared to safety. The two teams cancelled each other out in the first half with no goals scored by half-time.
The home team came back strongly early in the second half. A dangerous ball in the box was narrowly missed by Somila Ntsundwana and a few moments later a similar cross on the right was cleared by defender Nkosinathi Sibisi in the box.
Pirates were awarded a free kick in injury time, but Hotto fluffed his lines. The Buccaneers did manage to find the back of the net with the last kick of the match but Sibisi’s goal was ruled out for an alleged foul on the goalkeeper. The two teams were still deadlocked without any goals in regulation time.
In extra time, there was not much to write home about and the match went straight to the dreaded penalty shootout.
Hotto missed the first spot kick for his team which gave an advantage to the Natal Rich Boyz.
The Richards Bay players converted all five of their penalties to book their place in the last four of the new tournament.