KAITANO Tembo’s Richards Bay booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Carling Knockout Cup as they shocked Orlando Pirates on post-match penalties at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
The Natal Rich Boyz managed to hold the Sea Robbers to a goalless stalemate after extra time before finishing off the game 5-4 via penalties.
The KwaZulu-Natal-based outfit booked their place in their first ever cup semi-final while Pirates ave gone four games without a victory for the first time under head coach Jose Riveiro.
The unavailability of regular number one saw Melusi Buthelezi start his third game in a row for Pirates, looking to keep his second clean sheet in that period.
Pirates had regressed in recent weeks, dropping valuable points in the DStv Premiership with many expecting to find their form in cup competition.
Salim Magoola’s decision to not partake in the Black Label sponsored cup due to religious reasons saw club head coach Tembo hand over the gloves to 22-year-old Philasande Manqele.
Just as the thousands in attendance had expected, the Buccaneers began the more upbeat of the two teams, looking to make a flying start to the game.
However, the hosts were determined to hold their own against their much favoured opponents.
The cagey nature of the encounter saw both keepers largely untroubled for the first 40 minutes of the match and it was in the 42nd minute where Pirates nearly took the lead.
A marauding run by Bandile Shandu saw him feed a through ball to Monnapule Saleng inside the box however Manqele got his angle right and blocked Saleng’s low shot.
The urgency of the first stanza ending seemed to favour the visitors more as they went even closer in stoppage through left back Deon Hotto.
The flying Namibian international burst into the Richards Bay box and was well found with a through ball but w ith pressure on him, he scuffed his shot and hit the upright.
Needing to rest or balance into the match, Tembo made two substitutes at the half time break as midfield duo Langelihle Mhlongo and Moses Mthembu came on for Nkululeko Miya and Abel Mabaso.