Johannesburg, Oct 20 (AFP/APP):South African crowd-pullers Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, who have been experiencing unprecedented trophy droughts, squeezed into the League Cup quarter-finals this weekend.
Desperate for silverware after four barren seasons, Chiefs snatched a late regular-time goal to draw 1-1 at Cape Town City before going on to win on penalties after extra time. Former African champions Pirates, who last lifted a trophy six seasons ago, scored a soft goal with six minutes remaining to edge promoted Stellenbosch 1-0 in Soweto.
Trophy-holders Baroka, a star-less club with limited support who stunned Pirates in the last final, tripped at the first hurdle after losing a penalty shootout at SuperSport United. Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United also progressed, leaving three places to be filled between Sunday and Tuesday with 2016 African champions Mamelodi Sundowns among the contenders.
Chiefs fell behind on 34 minutes in front of a 35,000 crowd at the Cape Town Stadium when South Africa forward Kermit Erasmus struck. It took the Soweto outfit a further 50 minutes to level with Serbian Samir Nurkovic beating Dutch goalkeeper Peter Leeuwenburgh from close range.
There were no goals in extra time and centre-back Daniel Cardoso, who missed a penalty during regular time, was among the scorers for Chiefs in a 4-2 shootout victory.
Pirates’ poor form continued as they battled to overcome spirited but limited Stellenbosch, a club from a Cape rugby stronghold who are competing in the top flight for the first time. After squandering several scoring chances, the Buccaneers won thanks to a low shot by Thembinkosi Lorch from outside the box that goalkeeper Lee Langeveldt should have blocked.
SuperSport, who won another knockout competition in their previous match this month ahead of the internationals break, staged a dramatic escape before dumping Baroka. Trailing from the 59th minute, when Baroka captain Mduduzi Mdantsane converted a penalty, SuperSport forced a 1-1 draw six minutes into stoppage time via a Bradley Grobler tap-in.
It was the eighth goal this season in all competitions for the son of a former star, confirming him as the most clinical forward currently in South Africa. Baroka blazed one shootout penalty over the bar, had another saved and their fifth rebounded off the post as SuperSport won the spot-kick contest 3-2 to advance.
A Nicholas Motloung own-goal brought Arrows a 1-0 win over Polokwane City in Durban and Bidvest Wits fluffed three penalties in a 3-1 shootout loss at Maritzburg after a 1-1 draw.