Highlands Park knock Pirates out of MTN8
It never rains but pours for the Buccaneers as they suffer their third defeat in a row.
Highlands Park shocked Orlando Pirates 1-0 in Soweto on Saturday evening to secure a place in the MTN8 semifinals on their tournament debut.
Wayde Jooste struck a late goal at the Orlando Stadium to see the Lions of the North claim victory, while the Buccaneers are in a tailspin, with his result (coming in the wake of the shock resignation of coach Milutin Sredojevic on Friday) representing a third straight defeat across all competitions.
Pirates enjoyed early dominance and created a couple of good chances to claim the lead within the opening 10 minutes, the best of which saw youngster Thabiso Monyane run onto a through ball in the penalty before firing over from a tight angle, with only goalkeeper Thela Ngobeni to beat.
Just before the midway point of the first half Highlands threatened for the first time, with Lindokuhle Mbatha sending a long-range shot narrowly wide of the target, while a few minutes later a long throw-in from Ryan Rae was flicked on to find Tendai Ndoro, who should have tested Wayne Sandilands with a free header.
The Lions of the North were then dealt an injury blow on the half-hour mark when Mbatha was stretchered off after coming second best in a challenge with Musa Nyatama. Wayde Jooste was introduced as a substitute.
Bucs attacker Thembinkosi Lorch soon had two notable chances, both of which he spurned, before a superb Highlands counter attack teed up Jooste, but his low drive was well saved by Sandilands to see the teams locked at 0-0 heading into the interval.
The hosts created the first chance of the second half, with Justin Shonga showing some great skill and agility to turn in the penalty area, beat a defender and fire a low shot on target, but he was denied by a brilliant save from Ngobeni on 56 minutes.
Highlands had two further injury-enforced changes in the second half, with the introductions of Bevan Fransman and Marks Munyai seeing them use all three substitutions within the opening 62 minutes.
However, the Lions of the North broke the deadlock on 82 minutes and it was the first of their subs who found the back of the net: Jooste beautifully cracked home a low ball across the penalty area from Peter Shalulile to put the visitors ahead.
And Highlands were able to see out the remainder of the 90 minutes to secure a place in the semifinals alongside Polokwane City, who upset Cape Town City earlier in the day.
Orlando Pirates 0
Highlands Park (0) 1 (Jooste 82’)