Orlando Pirates put All Stars to sword to secure Nedbank Cup Last 16 spot as Lorch shows his class

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Thembinkosi Lorch, Orlando Pirates against All Stars, February 2023
Thembinkosi Lorch propelled Orlando Pirates to a 2-0 win over All Stars in Saturday night's Nedbank Cup Last 32 encounter.
  • Goals from Saleng and Lorch earned Bucs the win
  • Lorch made his return from a long-term injury
  • Bucs joined Chiefs and Sundowns in the Last 16

WHAT HAPPENED?: The Soweto giants returned to winning ways in style as they brushed aside the National First Division side at Wits Football Stadium in Johannesburg.
Pirates started slowly - struggling to penetrate Stars' stubborn defence which was marshalled by Bucs loanee Thabiso Sesane. 
The visitors posed a threat to Stars from set-pieces and the towering Sandile Mthethwa scored with a header, but the goal was disallowed for offside. Bucs coach Jose Riveiro was then presumably dismissed for dissent and his assistant Mandla Ncikazi took charge of the team.
However, the Buccaneers exerted pressure on the Stars defence after the restart and they managed to break the deadlock through Monnapule Saleng in the 62nd minute as he fired home from close range.
The goal rattled the hosts' defence and they conceded again nine minutes later as substitute Thembinkosi Lorch poked the ball home after the hosts had failed to clear their lines.
Stars launched late attacks as they looked to score at least two goals and take the game into extra-time. However, Pirates stood firm at the back and they emerged as 2-0 winners, while Stars bowed out of the tournament.

ALL EYES ON: Lorch as the mercurial attacker made his return from a long-term injury and it was his first competitive match since August.
The Bafana Bafana international changed the complexion of the game after coming on prior to the start of the second-half - replacing Kabelo Dlamini who was ineffective in the first-half.
Nicknamed Nyoso, Lorch's incisive passes, movement and smart combination play unsettled the Stars defence which led to Saleng finishing off a well-worked team goal.
Nyoso then put his name on the score sheet when he fired home from close range to seal Pirates' win. It is his maiden goal of the season and a confidence booster for him.
What a way to announce your return from a serious knee injury. He showed that he is the game-changer that Pirates have been lacking this term. 

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Pirates bounced back to winning ways as Mamelodi Sundowns had ended their three-match winning run last weekend.
The Soweto giants' ambitions of winning a cup double are very much alive having already clinched the MTN8 title last November.
The PSL giants joined their Gauteng rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Sundowns in the Last 16 of the South Africa FA Cup.

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WHAT IS NEXT FOR PIRATES?: The Buccaneers will now be looking to return to winning ways in the PSL when they lock horns with Maritzburg United on February 17 in Soweto.
Pirates will be determined to avenge their 1-0 defeat to Maritzburg in their first round league clash which was played in Pietermaritzburg last September.