SuperSport United (3) 3Brockie 14, Grobler 30, Boxall 41
Orlando Pirates (1) 2Memela 12, Daniels own-goal 53
Johannesburg - Matsatsantsa a Pitori were welcomed with boos as they walked into the Peter Mokaba Stadium to warm-up, making a mockery of them being the home team on the day in a venue that’s also their alternative stadium with the Ghost dominating the sold-out stands.
But those fans who cheered the Buccaneers loudly when they entered, were tongue-tied after the first 45 minutes and completely mute when referee Thando Ndzandzeka blew the final whistle.
That’s when the few United fans here could finally be heard, as their club gave them something to celebrate by ending in style as Nedbank Cup champions in what has been a disappointing season with the honour of being.
That title comes with the responsibility to represent South Africa in next year’s CAF Confederation Cup, something Pirates desperately wanted.It took winning awas a tactical see-saw battle between Stuart Baxter and his Pirates counterpart, Eric Tinkler, to achieve the honours.
Baxter packed the midfield with two workhorses in Dean Furman and Michael Morton who helped them keep their shape, protect the back-four and give the attack-minded players freedom to launch attacks without restrictions.
That led to their three goals in the first half. Tinkler responded by starting the second half with Happy Jele, replacing Thabo Rakhale to see the Buccaneers defend with three centre-backs and turn their fullbacks Thabo Matlaba and Ntsikelelo Nyauza into wing-backs which helped Bucs dominate the second half.
But Matsatsantsa had done enough in the first half that even Clayton Daniels’ own-goal did not derail their desire to be the trophy holders.
Pirates came back strongly, though SuperSport spent the last 10 minutes without their No 1number one goalkeeper Ronwen Williams, who got injured, didn’t derail them from lifting this trophy.
Boafela Pule, in his first match this season replacing the ever-present Williams, gave United some nervy moments but showed his talent with a brilliant one-handed save to deny Matlaba what looked like a goal.
Pule was also helped by a solid defence. United defended with discipline, keeping a high-line which required patience and timing to breach.Pirates struggled with their timing, were caught offside a couple of times as they fell into Matsatsantsa’s trap. But once they worked on it, they looked threatening with players like Rakhale and Mpho Makola coming up with defence-splitting passes.
That’s how their opening goal came, with Rakhale squeezing a beautiful pass past the United defence that was received by Tendai Ndoro on the left flank.
The Zimbabwean forward delivered Memela’s goal to him on a platter.United were quick to respond, with a goal from Jeremy Brockie who has a close affinity for this venue.It was here in 2010 the New Zealand forward made his World Cup debut against Paraguay.
On Sunday, playing in his first cup final in the professional ranks, he ended as a champion for the first time.He was sporting a brand new pair of boots but didn’t use them when he equalised for Matsatsantsa - using his head instead to connect with a cross from his countryman Michael Boxall.
That goal helped United settle, with Brockie turning provider for the second when his powerful shot was deflected to the path of Bradley Grobler by goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo.
Grobler made it two. Boxall’s goal came from similar fashion. Morton, who worked tirelessly and earned the Man of the Match award, chased what looked like a lost course forcing Mhlongo to come out of his line to clear.
The ball landed for Boxall who put his name on the score-sheet like his countryman Brockie. The duo will go to the Oceania Nations Cup high in confidence while their teammates party.
Independent on Sunday
Original source: Brockie breaks Bucs hearts, Boxall KO