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Sunday, October 1, 2023

MTN 8: Late Hotto winner gives Orlando Pirates the first leg edge over Stellenbosch

Orlando Pirates have a one-goal advantage to take home in the semifinals of South Africa’s MTN 8 following Sunday’s 2-1 first leg victory over Stellenbosch FC at the Athlone Stadium in Cape Town. Zakhele Lepasa scored once again in the second half and Deon Hotto gave Pirates the victory late on over 10-man Stellenbosch who opened the scoring through Olivier Touré at the end of the first half. The teams will meet again for the second leg at Orlando Stadium on September 24.

The first half was an even affair for the opening half hour with opportunities for both sides. Stellenbosch striker Iqraam Rayners had an open look inside ten minutes but his effort went past sprawling Pirates goalkeeper Sipho Chaine and just wide. However the hosts suffered a blow soon after the thirty minute mark when defender Thabo Moloisane was sent off with a red card for a nasty high challenge on Patrick Maswanganyi.

Pirates nearly took the lead after the red card but Monnapule Saleng’s accurate header was well saved by diving Stellenbosch keeper Sage Stephens. There was a twist in the match deep into first half stoppage time when Touré met Fawaaz Basadien’s corner kick with a header that snuck by Chaine and gave Stellenbosch the lead.

Stellenbosch attempted to hold onto their lead in the second half but Lepasa found the equalizer in the 66th minute with a perfect header from Maswanganyi’s cross that left Stephens motionless as the ball rattled in off the post. Pirates continued to push and deep into second half stoppage time snatched the victory through Hotto after the Namibian leaped up and got the slightest of touches to a Maswanganyi service to nudge the ball in.

Highlights from Sunday’s first leg are below.