Stars to meet Pirates in MTN8 final

JOHANNESBURG - Platinum Stars will meet Orlando Pirates in the final of the MTN8 after they defeated Bidvest Wits 2-1 in their second leg semifinal clash at the Bidvest Stadium on Tuesday evening, winning 6-3 on aggregate.

Robert Ng’ambi’s brace was the centrepiece of Dikwena’s victory while Denver Mukamba netted the consolation goal for Wits.

Stars had won the first leg encounter 4-2 in Rustenburg a month ago while Pirates beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 on aggregate in the other semifinal.

After a quiet first 15 minutes of the match in Braamfontein, Wits had their first attempt in goal when Siyabonga Nhlapo unleashed a shot in anger but his shot went wide of goal.

Four minutes later Nhlapo had another crack at goal when after a failed clearance from the Stars defence, the ball fell to the former Jomo Cosmos man but his attempt went high of goal from just outside the box.

In the 27th minute Wits broke out on a counter attack which caught the visitors slacking at the back and it resulted in striker Ryan Chapman cracking a ferocious shot, which was blocked by Stars keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane.

Five minutes before the halftime break, Chapman had another opportunity when he benefitted from a Benjani Mwaruwari flick-on header which he hit on the volley from just inside the box. But Mpontshane was well positioned to make a save.

Stars had the match’s best opportunity two minutes into the second half when Siphelele Mthembu lost his marker and let rip a thunderous long range shot which beat Wits keeper Moeneeb Josephs and hit the bar.

Three minutes later, Wits’ halftime substitute Robin Ngalande should have scored with Mpontshane at his mercy but he hit the ball with the outside of his boot and the ball missed the target.

On the hour mark, Stars made Wits’ task a lot harder when they opened the scoring on the night and make it 5-2 on aggregate. Dikwena’s skipper Vuyo Mere unleashed a long range shot which Josephs could not parry into safety and Ng’ambi was on hand to tap in the rebound ball.

The Clever Boys showed some fight when they equalised in the 72nd minute. Getaneh Kedebe sent in a cross for Mukamba who was unmarked at the back post and the Zimbabwean international scored with a diving header to make it 1-1 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate.

Wits were again pegged back when the combination of Mere and Ng’ambi proved fruitful again for Allan Freese’s men. The former sent in a cross from the right flank which the latter guided home with a slide to make 2-1 on the night and 6-3 on aggregate.

The result means that Pirates and Stars will contest the final in Durban on Saturday evening.  – SuperSport

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