Orlando Pirates eliminate Mamelodi Sundowns in MTN8 as Monnapule Saleng scores twice

Orlando Pirates eliminate Mamelodi Sundowns in MTN8 as Monnapule Saleng scores twice

Monnapule Saleng was the hero for Orlando Pirates as his second-half brace and assist propelled his team to the MTN8 championship match.

The Bucs defeated Mamelodi Sundowns 3-0 at a sold-out Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday to win the semi-final match by the same score on aggregate.

The Buccaneers will face either AmaZulu or Kaizer Chiefs in the final on November 5, as the two teams will face one other on Sunday.

As things stand, the Pirates are one victory away from ending their trophy drought, which might alter the coaching staff’s perspective.

Due to his track record, the Spanish coach Jose Riveiro was not a popular favorite when he landed on our shores in the winter, and many referred to him as a plumber.

But with today’s victory over Sundowns, he may go down in history as a “Messiah” since he is gradually gaining the players’ faith with such performances.

However, Riveiro may thank Saleng and Kermit Eramus for their two consecutive victories as they ended their winless streak against Golden Arrows last week.

With this victory, Pirates entered this match full of confidence and eager to continue their great performance from the first leg.

But if they wanted to win, they had to be aggressive from the get-go, and their chances rested on attacker Kermit Erasmus up front.

And he did not disappoint. Erasmus returned to haunt his former team within the first ten minutes, scoring from close range after Saleng’s excellent play.

Sundowns’ early game exploits were nullified by Pirates’ strong start, as they possessed structure but lacked penetration in the Bucs’ final third.

After Peter Shalulile’s injury, the goal-scoring reins were passed to Gaston Sirino, Themba Zwane, and Marcelo Allende of Mamelodi Sundowns.

However, this was not going to be simple. The trio is not the quickest off the line, while the Pirates’ back-five defense was aided by Miguel Timm.

Sirino and senior coach Steve Komphela were both penalized for disobedience by referee Thando Ndzandzeka as Downs’ frustrations mounted.

Pirates were intelligent. Recognizing that Downs lacked a box-to-box striker, they gave them the ball in an attempt to catch them on the break.

Saleng orchestrated this counterattacking play by using his speed and dexterity to disrupt the Brazilian defense, which was occasionally asleep.

With the exception of the initial goal, neither team created clear scoring opportunities, and Pirates headed into halftime with the lead.

In the 65th minute, under pressure to score, Sundowns had already made more than three replacements, while Pirates opted for a defensive strategy.

Saleng scored his second goal of the game from close range, demonstrating that the Pirates’ offensive strength was unaffected by their shift in strategy.

The lanky winger brought the house down with a thunderbolt as he sent Pirates to the championship match and Sundowns packing later on.

»Orlando Pirates eliminate Mamelodi Sundowns in MTN8 as Monnapule Saleng scores twice«

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