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SA SOCCER NEWS
Bucs win Classic Cup tie 31/03/04
Orlando Pirates came from a goal down at half-time to score a comfortable 3-1 win over first division Classic in an entertaining Absa Cup second round game played at the Johannesburg Stadium on Wednesday night.

The team in black had a poor first ahalf and Classic did well to limit Pirates' scoring opportunities before taking the lead themselves a minute before the break through Ben Madlanzi.

However, it was a different Buccaneers side who came out in the second half and quickly turned matters around.

The Bucs dominated possession of the ball in the opening five minutes, but it was Classic who had the first chance of the game when Musi Khumalo broke up an attack and took a long range shot, which failed to trouble Thabang Radebe in the Pirates goal.

In the eighth minute some good build-up work down the right flank between Jimmy Tau and Joseph Makhanya saw the former whip a quality cross to Bheka Phakathi, who connected well with his header, but the ball flew well over the Classic cross-bar.

For the next 20 minutes the game went into somewhat of a lull and the next goal-scoring chance came in the 30th minute when defender Edward Malinga rose well from a corner by Patrick Thwala, but his header was well off target.

A couple of minutes later Mnyatheli came close for Classic with a powerful shot from 30-yards out which flashed wide of Radebe's left upright.

In the 44th minute Yizo-Yizo showed that they meant business when Madlanzi opened the scoring with a fiercely struck left-footed shot into the bottom corner if the net.

At this stage of the game it was clear that the Buccaneers were missing the influence of inspirational playmaker Bennedict Vilakazi, who played for Bafana Bafana against Australia on Wednesday night.

Kabanga Tshamala, who was brought in for Jimmy Kauleza upfront, also had an ineffectual first half.

Tshamala was in fact substituted at half-time for the 17-year-old Lebohang Mokoena, who made an immediate impact by threading a great through ball to Makhanya, who got into a good position in the box but was unable to get a shot away as the Classic defence held firm.

Steve Lekoelea was also introduced in the second half (in the place of Hleza Mofedi) and in the 53rd minute he whipped in a dangerous free-kick which Yizo-Yizo keeper Washington Tsotetsi struggled to clear.

Pirates' possession dominance finally paid off in the 62nd minute when Abenigo Netshiozwi scored a cracking left-footed shot from the edge of the area after receiving the ball from a cutback.

Six minutes later the Sea Robbers took the lead for the first time in the game following a well-worked free-kick between Lekoelea, who fed Makhanya down the right flank.

The latter chipped the ball over Tsotetsi's head from an acute angle with a shot that seemed more likely to actually have been intended as a cross.

Only a minute later Pirates were able to make sure of their victory after Mokoena was fouled in the box and Edelbert Dinha duly slotted the ball into the corner of the net from the spot.

The Bucs moved into 'cruise-control' mode after this and delighted 'the Ghost' with some neat passing and lovely skills in the final minutes.

Madlanzi tried to pull one back for Yizo-Yizo in the closing minutes when he turned well outside the box, but his well struck shot flew straight at Radebe.

In injury time a good cross from Phakathi nearly picked out Mokoena in the box to make it four for the Bucs, but the ball just eluded the youngster.

The final whistle blew shortly afterwards and Amabhakabhaka coach Augusto Palacious would have been happy with the performance his side put up in the second half.

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