Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nedbank Cup draw; Pirates and Sundowns again.

Orlando Pirates preserved a log lead in the ABSA Premeir league in the most dramatic of circumstances, making light work of heavy weights in fellow title aspirants, Mamelodi Sundowns, with a 2-0 victory during the weekend. Katlego Mashego coolly placed a penalty kick at the corner with Sandilands diving the other way. Thulasizwe Mbuyane headed in the final goal to seal the deal.

Kaizer Chiefs were made to look pedestrian against Platinum Stars in the first half. Thank God, the Tycoons lost shape and composure and will nilly gave away the ball and were second best to every ball until Amakhosi were 3-2 up. It was just. Thank God they dispatched Moroka Swallows to go second on the log behind the Bucs.

Given their fortunes of the weekend, they found favour of the football gods in drawing lower division opposition in the Nedbank Cup's last 32 draw. By contrast, Pirates are dating the team they would have preferred to meet in the final, Mamelodi Sundowns.

It was an unfair affair as most Premiership teams will face each other and chances of minnows reaching the finals are very high. The complexity of the draw means that Chiefs will have an advantage in competing in the league for a short moment. Then Pirates and Sundowns will have an excuse of concentrating in either the Cup or title depending on the outcome of the match. Going for both would be sweet if the double is achieved, but the embarrassment of getting neither may lead to technical department changes, especially for Pirates.

I would like to express my disappointment at how Chiefs gave a lacklustre performance against Stars. Simphiwe Tshabalala and Reneiloe Letsholonyane dropped their heads when they were on the back foot and their mega star experience failed to show when needed the most. The win had nothing to do with their prowess but rather the ineptness of their opponents. Pirates, by contrast were benefactors of lucky moments they made. They kept going and hoped for cracks to develop and they did.

Sundowns were so unfortunate, but they did everything they could. Their biggest letdown was trying to play beautiful football with a lot of class. Class does not always win you games, unless you do it progressively. Pelembe was outstanding and tried a little too hard. On a good day, such a performance gets rewarded with a goal. Had Sundowns got a goal anytime before Pirates's second, the result would have changed. Downs are suffering the Chelsea syndrome and the sooner they forget about money and think points, the better.

A 4 point lead with a 10 games to go is not a big gap at all. Ajax can be the silent recipients of the coveted title as the Soweto giants try to wrestle points off each other and Sundowns grinding results off big teams and failing to fry small fish.

Full draw
 
MP Black Aces vs Hanover Park
United FC vs Future Tigers
Maritzburg United vs Moroka Swallows
SuperSport United vs Golden Arrows
Bloemfontein Celtic vs Platinum Stars
Orlando Pirates vs Mamelodi Sundowns
Amajuba United Killers FC vs Vasco Da Gama
Black Leopards vs Thanda Royal Zulu
AmaZulu vs Real Madrid
Baroka FC vs Mighty Mega Force
Witbank Spurs vs Chippa United
Bidvest Wits vs Santos
Carara Kicks vs Cullinan FC
Free State Stars vs Ajax Cape Town
BTX Liverpool vs Blackburn Rovers
Nathi Lions vs Kaizer Chiefs