10 February 2020, by: Thabang Kgeledi

The Nedbank Cup Last-32 – Talking Points

A thrilling game at the Orlando Stadium ends Pirates realistic hopes of winning any trophy, Chiefs A-team sneaks past a lower division side, and Sundowns eyeing a quadruple. Check out the talking points of the last-32 of the Nedbank Cup.

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Orlando Pirates blow their chance of silverware

Orlando Pirates went into their game against Bidvest Wits in blistering form. They were playing inspired, fluid, attacking football that league defences found hard to contain. They had won five of their last five games and their supporters had regained their voices (on Twitter and in the office) after four months of silence.

Pirates’ form had moved them to second place, nine points behind log leading Kaizer Chiefs. Optimistic Pirates supporters hoped a few bad results by their rivals and the continuation of their run, could see them smash and grab the league from Kaizer Chiefs’ backseat. But, sane… [cough] I mean objective Pirates supporters figured, with only 10 games left, 9 points may be a bridge too far. The Nedbank Cup was the only silverware Pirates could realistically win.

In an entertaining back and forth game, Wits led by two goals at the half only for it be erased by a determined Pirates team in the second stanza. It went to extra-time and Orlando Pirates thought they had completed the greatest comeback in Nedbank Cup history when Zakhele Lepasa found the back of the net to put them 3-2 up. Wits weren’t having it.

Through will and a bit of luck, Gavin Hunt’s men through Gift Motupa found their own equalizer in the last minute of the second half of extra-time. Orlando Pirates ended up losing the game 3-2 on penalties.

The loss sounded the death knell to Pirates cup hopes. A season that began with so much hope will end with no trophy… again. Better luck next year gents.

Kaizer Chiefs not putting all their eggs in PSL basket.

Kaizer Chiefs went up against the bottom of the NFD table side Royal Eagles. On paper, Eagles were outmatched but they still found a way to hold Kaizer Chiefs goalless in the first half. Lebo Manyama broke the deadlock in the 70th minute with a goal that proved to be the game-winner.

Going up against a bad NFD side you’d think Ernst Middendorp would give his squad players an opportunity for game time. The German coach set out a team that had only three changes from their previous Absa Premiership game against Golden Arrows.

Should Kaizer Chiefs be playing their first-team players against lower league sides when they have more important games on the horizon? Should Middendorp be putting all his efforts and resources into winning the Nedbank Cup? I think not but, I supposed, should Kaizer Chiefs squander their nine-point lead at the top of the log, the Nedbank Cup would be an alternative.

Sundowns could make history and win the quadruple

Mamelodi Sundowns came away 1-0 winners against Supersport United in Tshwane derby. The game was always going to be tight. These teams are evenly matched. After Vilakazi’s first-half goal Mamelodi Sundowns used their experience to manage the game and see it out till the end.

Sundowns are still in three competitions. The league, the last-16 of the Nedbank Cup, and the quarter-finals of the CAF Champions League. Having won the Telkom Knockout earlier this season, Pitso Mosimane’s men are eyeing a quadruple. But it won’t be easy.

Sundowns have a big squad but Pitso Mosimane seems to trust and rotate around 15 of his players. Attempting to be competitive in all three remaining competitions could take its toll on his team physically and mentally. But, Pitso will be thinking about making history even though he might not say it.

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