Pirates pip Chiefs on penalties in SMS Soweto derby

Orlando Pirates pipped Kaizer Chiefs 4-3 on penalties in the SMS-induced Soweto derby on Saturday.

In a first for South African football, supporters of the most popular clubs in the country chose the teams for the pre-season friendly.

Eleven million votes through mobile phone chose the starting line-ups but the match ended goalless at full-time

The game came to a dramatic conclusion when Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune missed his kick in the shoot-out.

Khune, who polled double the votes of any other participant, proved he is far better at saving than taking penalties by ballooning an effort over the bar.

A supporter of each club assisted coaches Vladimir Vermezovic of Chiefs and Julio Leal of Pirates until half-time.

The SMS power was evident again early in the second half when fans enforced one substitution in each team.

Despite the lack of goals one week before the season officially kicks off, a colourful, multiracial crowd packed the 94,700-capacity Soccer City stadium and enjoyed the novel match bankrolled by a major international brewer.

PLAYERS WITH MOST VOTES

  • Itumeleng Khune (Kaizer Chiefs) 1,485,083
  • Moeneeb Josephs (Orlando Pirates) 761,622

(Both are goalkeepers)

The only disappointment was a 30-minute delay to the kick-off as some supporters reverted to a decades-old South African habit of arriving late and raising fears that some could be crushed at stadium entrances.

South African football officials are hyper sensitive about crowds seeking entry after a game has kicked off because 43 died during a derby stampede at another Johannesburg stadium 10 years ago.

Brazilian Leal got into the spirit of the occasion by allowing his 'assistant' to stay with the Pirates squad on the eve of the match, attend two tactical sessions and travel to Soccer City in the team bus.

He was also happy with the team chosen by supporters of the Buccaneers, who won three of four domestic trophies last season, praising "intelligent choices and the balance of the team".

Dour Serb Vermezovic was less enthusiastic about the SMS derby and resembled an undercover agent as he patrolled the touchline in a cap, overcoat, scarf and yellow gloves while interacting with his 'assistant' less frequently than Leal.

Chiefs coach had expressed surprise at a starting line-up that had a centre-back at right-back, a right-back at left-back, and no 'enforcer' in a midfield of four attack-conscious stars.

The game came to a dramatic conclusion when Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune, who polled double the votes of any other participant, proved he is far better at saving than taking penalties by ballooning an effort over the bar.

Teams (South Africa unless noted):

Chiefs - Itumeleng Khune; Tefu Mashamaite, Thomas Sweswe (Zimbabwe), Dominic Isaacs, Tlou Molekwane; Mandla Masango, Josta Dladla, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Abia Nale; Lucky Khune, Sthembiso Ngcobo

Pirates - Moeneeb Josephs; Happy Jele, Lucky Lekgwathi, Rooi Mahamutsa, Reuben Cloete; Thulasizwe Mbuyane, Oupa Manyisa, Andile Jali, Mark Mayambela; Bongani Ndulula, Chiukepo Msowoya (Malawi)