The Carling Knockout took place this past weekend with plenty of surprises in store for all involved. Two of the four games went to penalties with one of the cup specialists of late, Orlando Pirates – falling to struggling outfit Richards Bay. Few would have foreseen that all the bigger named teams would be out of the competition before the semi-final stage. This is the first time in PSL history that Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, SuperSport, and Mamelodi Sundowns have all been knocked out of the League Cup before the semi-final stage. And now, with AmaZulu FC, Richards Bay, Sekhukhune United, and Stellenbosch FC remaining – who will be the winner holding the trophy in December?
8 – number of times Pirates have been eliminated from the League Cup via penalties
4 – four of those instances have been in the last four editions
1 – League Cup titles won by Orlando Pirates in their history.
Richards Bay vs Orlando Pirates – 0:0 (5:4)
Pirates traveled back to the Moses Mabhida Stadium where they beat league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns to the MTN 8 Cup last month. Facing an out-of-sorts Richard Bayside with one home win all year would have been an ideal fixture. Unfortunately for Pirates, they rued the missed chances on the day, as their struggles in front of goal continued. Once again, they tried to draw on their recent penalty experience of late, but on this occasion, these did not go in their favour.
10 – games pirates have played since September
1 – game in which they scored more than one goal
0 – games in which they scored more than one goal from open play
There is no time to ponder for Jose Riviero and his troops as the DSTV Premiership is back in full swing. Pirates have two back-to-back games before the November international break, and they will be desperate to get some momentum going midweek ahead of a highly anticipated Soweto derby on Saturday. First up, they have to face a Sekhukhune United side who will also be licking their wounds.
AmaZulu FC vs Lamontville Golden Arrows – 3:0
The Moses Mabhida Stadium saw back-to-back games over the weekend as AmaZulu FC beat their rivals Lamontville Golden Arrows in the Carling Knockout quarter-finals on Saturday evening. Arrows Head Coach Mabhuti Khanyeza was unable to get his team to reproduce the form that has the team flying high in the DSTV Premiership of late. Instead, Sede Junior Dion stole the show with a clinical hat-trick for AmaZulu FC as they remained on course to win their first piece of silverware in over three decades.
6 – shots taken by AmaZulu FC vs Golden Arrows
4 – shots taken by Sede Juinor Dion alone (AmaZulu FC)
3 – goals scored by Sede Juinor Dion (AmaZulu FC)
Polokwane City vs Stellenbosch FC – 0:2
Steve Barker’s men have had a tough time in the DSTV Premiership lately, but this win over Polokwane City in the Carling Knockout leaves the team with a chance of silverware for the 2023/24 season. They are slowly becoming Cup specialists.
0 – Cup semi-finals reached by Stellenbosch before 2023
3 – domestic semi-finals reached by Stellenbosch this year, the only team to do so this year
21 – teams in PSL history that have reached three semi-finals in the same year
Sekhukhune United vs TS Galaxy – 0:0 (2:4)
Over the last few weeks, there have been questions about Brandon Truter’s future at Sekhukhune United and with this loss on penalties, those questions may only get louder. Speculation on his exit has been mounting since this Cup exit, but nothing has yet come from the club. For Sead Ramovic and TS Galaxy, a deep run in the Cup must be a welcome relief. They had been knocked out of the Nedbank Cup early since their 2018 win and will be looking to reach a final once more.