FEATURE: Orlando Pirates' road to the 2018 Telkom Knockout Cup final

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Goal takes a look at the Soweto giants' run up to the final as they aim to to end their four-year trophy drought at the iconic venue in the Ea

The build-up to the Telkom Knockout Cup final is already in full swing as Orlando Pirates prepare to face Baroka FC at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Buccaneers still flying high after beating old rivals Kaizer Chiefs in the semi-finals, and they are seen as strong favourites to clinch the TKO trophy.

However, facing a team with a reputation of upsetting the odds will not be easy because Bakgaga Ba Mphahlele are also fresh from beating Mamelodi Sundowns in the semi-finals.

Under the guidance of Wedson Nyirenda, who is in his first campaign in South Africa, Baroka are the underdogs and have nothing to lose. 

Having coached the Zambian national team prior his appointment at Baroka, it remains to be seen how Nyirena will plan for his former players in Justin Shonga and Augustine Mulenga whom he knows better than any other PSL opponents.

Ahead of the eagerly anticipated thriller, Goal takes a look at the Soweto giants' run up to the final.


BUCS NARROWLY BEAT CHIPPA


Vincent Pule, Orlando Pirates, October 2018

Coach Milutin Sredojevic led his troops as they opened their account in the Last 16 with a clash against the Chilli Boys at the Orlando Stadium where they secured a narrow 1-0 win.

Despite facing their former coach in Eric Tinkler, who is no longer in charge of the Chilli Boys, Pirates anticipated a tough clash, but they managed to reach the next stage, thanks to Vincent Pule's 60th minute strike.

Reaching the quarter-final phase of the tournament restored faith and pride in the Ghost camp as far as their title chase was concerned and also eased the pressure on the players.


EXTRA TIME GOALS SEAL IT FOR BUCS


Thembinkosi Lorch, Orlando Pirates, November 2018

The 1995 African champions were pitted against Usuthu in the quarter-final phase. The match was staged at the Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium.

Although they managed to open the scoring through Thembinkosi Lorch, Usuthu's Bonginkosi Ntuli restored parity with a clever strike three minutes later.

The two teams were deadlocked after 90 minutes and the proceedings had to go through extra time where the Soweto giants upped their pace to stun their hosts.

Midfielder Xola Mlambo struck in the 93rd minute to put Pirates back in the lead, but Cavin Johnson's men continued to probe in their quest to keep their hopes alive.

However, an enterprising Lorch completed his brace in the 107th minute, ensuring Pirates' passage to the semi-finals. 


ANOTHER SOWETO DERBY WIN FOR BUCS


Willard Katsande, Kaizer Chiefs & Justin Shonga, Orlando Pirates, November 2018

The meeting against Amakhosi raised speculation regarding the venue and reports that the FNB Stadium would not be avaialble to host one of the biggest matches in South African football.

Moreover, the clash came on the back of Pirates' 2-1 win over Chiefs in the league, and this was seen as a game full of vegeance as the Glamour Boys were also confident of ending their winless run against their rivals.

Apart from the PSL win, Chiefs had an upper hand based on previous TKO Cup meetings where they were unbeaten in three matches, a feat Pirates were looking to undo.

Pirates had a bright start in the match, and Lorch found the back of the net in the 13th minute, beating Itumeleng Khune on his near post after some sloppy defending by the Phefeni Boys.

PIRATES FEATURE

As they looked for an immediate response, Leonardo Castro capitalised on a defensive error and beat Jackson Mabokgwane with a brilliant chip to make it 1-1.

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Sredojevic's magic touch in introducing Augustine Mulenga paid dividends as he managed to run at the tiring Amakhosi defence towards the dying stages of the game.

His cross found his Zambian partner in Justin Shonga, who made it 2-1 in what many labelled a stroke of genius in improvising to capitalise on some Chiefs defending.

Because both Nyirenda and Sredojevic will be chasing their maiden trophy in the PSL, the encounter definitely promises to be a cracker and kick-off is at 18:00.

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