The Buccaneers earned a somewhat fortuitous victory over Venda Football Academy, the first division outfit from Limpopo courtesy of what seemed like an offside goal by Thembinkosi Lorch to march into the Nedbank Cup quarter-final.

Lorch lobbed the ball over the advancing Harold Ndlovu in the Venda Football Academy (VFA) goal, although he appeared to have been offside when substitute Evidence Makgopa flicked over what had seemed a hopeful punt from deep in the Pirates half.

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The assistant referee did not raise his flag though and the goal counted to see Pirates avoid what was fast beginning to look like a potential banana skin with the shoot-out from the penalty spot looming large.

Not that you’d have foreseen the match getting to the stage that it did, given that the home side had had it fairly easy in the initial stanza and were good value for their 1-0 lead which could so easily have been more.

Kermit Erasmus headed in their opener following great build up play that saw Monapule Saleng sending a long ball across the field to find Deon Hotto free on the left flank. The Namibian sent in a sweet cross that landed between the VFA goalkeeper and the defender for the short Erasmus to direct downwards and into the net.

That should have been Pirates’ second goal though with Hotto having missed an opportunity on 11 minutes having been involved in a beautiful combination play with Erasmus. The Nambian, playing at left back, forged forward and gave the ball to Erasmus who dinked it over the defence but Hotto strangely chose to disturb the bats’ flying pattern when finding the target appeared much easier.

Miguel Timm also missed a good chance when he shot inches over from the penalty box arc.

While they fought a rearguard battle, the Motsepe Foundation League outfit from Limpopo made some forays into the Pirates territory and even threatened to score.

Rudzani Thobo headed unmarked from inside the box but only managed to find the side-netting with Sipho Chaine looking beaten on 27 minutes.

The visitors had another chance on 33 minutes after Edmore Chirambadare was allowed to find his way into the right side of the penalty box but saw his attempt saved by Chaine.

The lower division outfit came back from the half time break inspired and were richly rewarded when they got the equaliser via Chirambadare four minutes into the second half. The goal was more of a gift given that Hotto inconceivably decided to cut across his own goal after winning possession in defence. But he pushed the ball too far ahead and Chirambadare pounced and sent Chaine scooping the ball from inside the net.

Now back on level terms, VFA played with some confidence but it was Pirates who still looked dangerous with substitute Terence Dzvukamanja forcing Harold Ndlovu to pull off a two-footed safe from close range. Shortly thereafter Ndlovu stopped the ball at his near post as a Thembinkosi Lorch corner looked to go directly into the net.

Then on 69 minutes, Thobo headed the ball goalwards from a corner kick but saw it cleared off the line by Thapelo Xoki.

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Almost immediately, Pirates launched a counter attack from which Lorch shot over the advancing Ndlovu only for his attempt to ricochet off the upright.

The match petered away with very few good chances created thereafter until Lorch eventually came good, albeit from what appeared an offside position.


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