Orlando Pirates complete historic treble

Orlando Pirates
Ruud Krol (bottom right) has guided league champions Pirates to a historic treble

Orlando Pirates completed a historic treble by beating second-tier Black Leopards 3-1 in the South African FA Cup final in Nelspruit.

Dutch coach Ruud Krol had already led Pirates to victory in the Top 8 Cup before snatching the league title from Ajax Cape Town last weekend.

It is the first time a side has won the treble since the Premier Soccer League was created in 1996.

Pirates also reached the League Cup final but lost to rivals Kaizer Chiefs.

"We have worked hard and deserve the treble," said Krol, who captained Holland in the 1978 World Cup final.

The Dutchman expects to talk to club officials soon about his future with his contract having come to an end.

No side has won a South African league and FA Cup double since Mamelodi Sundowns in 1998.

Meanwhile, Pirates become the first club to win three trophies in a season since Chiefs did so in 1984 - when there were many competitions and the South African game was still racially divided.

The Johannesburg-based Pirates had previously achieved the feat themselves in 1975.

Leopards, the third lower league club to reach the final in four seasons, were forced on to the back foot early on as Pirates sought an early goal before a capacity 43,000 crowd.

But the club from northern town Thohoyandou eventually took the lead shortly after half-time when Mongezi Bobe's low free-kick was deflected into his own net by defender Rooi Mahamutsa.

"It is always difficult against outsiders but we woke up after falling behind," Krol added.

Leopards held the advantage for 18 minutes before Pirates scored twice in four minutes to turn the tide and stop their opponents from becoming the first second-tier club to lift the trophy.

Zambian Isaac Chansa levelled on 72 minutes and a brace from fellow midfielder Thulasizwe Mbuyane completed a memorable season for the former African champions.

Chansa levelled with an unstoppable close-range shot and when Leopards keeper Azwindini Maphaha misjudged an Andile Jali cross, the ball rebounded off a post and the diving Mbuyane headed home.

Mbuyane then rifled the ball home from close range with a minute left after a Pirates counter-attack caught Leopards out to ensure Krol's men finished their memorable season in style.

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