After Springboks conquer the world, Chiefs sink Pirates in epic

Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi saved two shootout penalties to help Kaizer Chiefs defeat arch rivals Orlando Pirates Saturday in a South African League Cup quarter-final (AFP Photo/Giuseppe CACACE)
Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi saved two shootout penalties to help Kaizer Chiefs defeat arch rivals Orlando Pirates Saturday in a South African League Cup quarter-final (AFP Photo/Giuseppe CACACE)

Johannesburg (AFP) - A wonderful Saturday for South Africa, with the Springboks becoming world champions, was completed by an epic Soweto derby in which Kaizer Chiefs edged Orlando Pirates on penalties.

Chiefs won the League Cup quarter-final shootout 4-2 after a 2-2 draw before a capacity 50,000 crowd in Durban, some of whom had earlier watched South Africa outplay England in the Rugby World Cup final.

Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi was Chiefs' saviour, blocking successive spot-kicks after Pirates had converted their first two.

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Rugby is growing in popularity with six black players, including captain Siya Kolisi, in the starting line-up of a national team reserved for whites during most of the apartheid era.

But football remains the first love for the majority of the 57 million population and the latest episode of a 49-year rivalry between Chiefs and Pirates was among the best.

"We had to take risks after falling behind, replacing a full-back with a forward and a defensive midfielder with an offensive one," said Chiefs coach, German Ernst Middendorp.

"Derbies usually come down to character and we had lots of that. We did have a one-man advantage for much of the game, but Pirates made it very difficult for us."

Pirates caretaker coach Rhulani Mokwena summarised the pride he had in his team by saying "I thought I was Picasso admiring a beautiful painting."

"This was the most impressive performances by Pirates in a very long time. My boys gave everything only to end up as losers."

- Stamping on the leg -

Often in the past a week of derby media hype is followed by ultra cautious football with both teams more determined to avoid defeat than to win, resulting in sleep-inducing stalemates.

Not this time, though, as Pirates star Thembinkosi Lorch escaped with a yellow card when he should have seen red for stamping on the leg of Zimbabwe star Khama Billiat.

Soon after, Pirates took a 34th-minute lead when close-season signing Fortune Makaringe scored with a close-range shot, his first goal for the Buccaneers in his first derby.

Pirates were reduced to 10 men just six minutes into the second half when Mthokozisi Dube fouled Billiat and was cautioned for the second time, resulting in a red card.

Colombian Leonardo Castro levelled for Chiefs on 62 minutes, firing a rebound past Wayne Sandilands after a Billiat shot struck the woodwork.

The numerical advantage enjoyed by Chiefs paid off four minutes into extra time when Daniel Cardoso converted a penalty at a throbbing Moses Mabhida Stadium close to the Indian Ocean.

It took 10-man Pirates only six minutes to draw level with Malawi forward Frank Mhango beating Akpeyi from close range after hard running and slick passing created space.

Then came the shootout and veteran Bernard Parker netted the match-winning penalty after teammates Cardoso, Billiat and Lebogang Manyama also scored from the spot.

The derby was moved from its usual venue -- the 90,000-seat Soccer City stadium in Soweto -- because many nearby roads were closed to facilitate the staging of a marathon Sunday.

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