Platinum Stars held their nerves to beat Orlando Pirates 3-1 on penalties and win the final of the MTN 8 played at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday night
Platinum Stars, coming to this MTN 8 final as underdogs, had a brighter start to the first half and nearly opened the scoring in the 6th minute when Siphelele Mthembu’s shot was deflected for an early corner.
The Buccaneers then found their rhythm although they dominated possession without creating any goalscoring opportunities.
Kermit Erasmus’ thunder strike in the 21st minute went straight into Siyabonga Mpontshane’s hands after he was played by Happy Jele from the right hand side of the pitch.
Erasmus kept the Stars defence busy in the opening 30 minutes as he received a through ball from Daine Klate before beating two defenders, but his shot went narrowly over the bar.
Both teams didn’t create any clear-cut chances until the 42nd minute when Oupa Manyisa unleashed from outside the Stars box, but Mpontshane made a comfortable save.
Rooi Mahamutsa failed to connect with Tlou Segolela’s corner on the stroke of halftime in what should have been Pirates’ opener, as the defender’s poor header went wide of goal.
Dikwena got off to a flying start in the second half as they took the lead through Robert Ng’ambi’s powerful header in the 48th minute after it was flicked by Benson Mhlongo from Sibusiso Msomi’s free-kick.
Erasmus combined with Lennox Bacela in the Stars area a few minutes later, but Bacela’s header was too heavy for the former SuperSport United man.
Pirates dominated the possession and took the game to their opponents, and thought they have equalized in the 65th minute, but Erasmus was incorrectly ruled offside.
Dikwena showed resilience in defence and frustrated the Pirates attackers as they continued to hold on to their 1-0 lead.
Stars won a free-kick in a promising position with less than 10 minutes to go, but Senzo Meyiwa denied Mogakolodi Ngele with a fine save.
However, Thabo Matlaba levelled matters with a sensational strike from outside the box in the 84th minute after being given enough space to find the goal.
Stars pushed forward in search of that winning goal, but Issah Sarr’s long range shot sailed over the bar after some great display from the Rustenburg-based side.
There was no time left for either sides to get the winner, and 30 minutes of extra time was needed to at least determine the champions.
Dikwena were a much improved side in the first half of extra time as they dictated the game from the midfield, but they were often let down by their final pass in the Pirates’ half.
Bacela should have crossed the ball to Erasmus in the 98th minute, but the Pirates hitman opted to shoot from an awkward angle, only for Mpontshane to collect easily.
Matlaba outran the Stars defence from the Pirates counter attack, before whipping a beautiful low cross into the six yard area, but Joseph Molangoane failed to make it 2-1 to Pirates with only a few seconds to the halftime.
The Sea Robbers enjoyed possession in the early stages of the second of extra time, but they could not hurt Platinum Stars when it mattered most.
Matlaba was again given space by the Stars defence, but his well taken strike was saved by Dikwena keeper Mpontshane.
Bacela tried from distance in the dying minutes, but Mpontshane didn’t need to move from his original position as he picked up easily and the referee blew for fulltime to send the game into penalties.
Vuyo Mere stepped up first and sent Meyiwa the wrong the way to make it 1-0 to Dikwena, but Andile Jali easily beat Mpontshane to make it 1-1.
Botes easily made it 2-1 to Stars before Mahamutsa’s casual penalty hit the post to give Stars an advantage. Ngele stepped forward to make it 3-1 to Stars.
Mabena sent his penalty wide of Mpontshane’s goal, but Senzo Meyiwa made a fine block to deny Chinyama and keep it on 3-1, but Bacela sent his penalty way over the bar as Dikwena were crowned the 2013 MTN 8 champions.