Veteran striker Lehlohonolo Majoro’s extra time strike lifted AmaZulu past Cape Town City and Orlando Pirates held off a late charge from Royal AM on Saturday to start off the opening weekend of the MTN 8. While Majoro provided the winning touch for AmaZulu to avenge last season’s defeat at the quarterfinal stage it was Vincent Pule and Thabiso Monyane who tallied to help the Bucs move on. Sunday’s matchups will see Stellenbosch and Kaizer Chiefs clash while defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns meet SuperSport United.
For AmaZulu it was a case of starting and finishing strong as the Durban side took an early lead inside the opening ten minutes. In form star forward Frank “Gabadinho” Mhango dispossessed Cape Town City defender Thamsanqa Mkhize on the left wing and quickly moved the ball to Augustine Kwem in the penalty area where the Nigerian coolly finished following an excellent first touch.
Cape Town City went on to seize control of the match for long stretches and found a deserved leveler right before halftime through Khanyisa Mayo’s sublime volley from a lofted Wayde Lakay pass. The Citizens would pay for failing to convert their chances when the match was all square after ninety minutes and Majoro was there to turn in the rebound after Mhango’s initial shot was parried right into Majoro’s path in the 113th minute.
In the later match Pirates got off to an excellent start themselves in similar circumstances to AmaZulu’s opener in the early match. A turnover from the Royal AM defense led to a clearance attempt that ricocheted right to Pule who finished expertly to give the Bucs the lead. Ten minutes later Pule was wrestled down by Royal AM center back Ricardo Nascimento who was very fortunate to escape with only a yellow card after denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.
Pirates extended their lead in the 55th minute courtesy of Monyane, whose hard hit shot from the right wing was poorly handled by goalkeeper Zakahle Ngcobo and spilled past the goal line. Royal AM responded a couple of minutes later through Shaune Mogaila but the comeback effort fell just short in the end with Thabo Matlaba’s crashing long range drive just off target in the 78th minute.
Highlights from both games are below.