After Springboks conquer the world, Chiefs sink Pirates in epic
A wonderful Saturday for South Africa, with the Springboks becoming world champions, was completed by an epic Soweto derby in which Kaizer Chiefs edged Orlando Pirates on penalties.
Chiefs won the League Cup quarter-final shootout 4-2 after a 2-2 draw before a capacity 50,000 crowd in Durban, some of whom had earlier watched South Africa outplay England in the Rugby World Cup final.
Nigeria goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi was Chiefs' saviour, blocking successive spot-kicks after Pirates had converted their first two.
South Africa's flanker Siya Kolisi (C) lifts the Webb Ellis Cup as they celebrate winning the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup final match between England and South Africa at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on November 2, 2019.
[Photo: AFP/Odd ANDERSEN]
Rugby is growing in popularity with six black players, including captain Siya Kolisi, in the starting line-up of a national team reserved for whites during most of the apartheid era.
But football remains the first love for the majority of the 57 million population and the latest episode of a 49-year rivalry between Chiefs and Pirates was among the best.
"We had to take risks after falling behind, replacing a full-back with a forward and a defensive midfielder with an offensive one," said Chiefs coach, German Ernst Middendorp.
"Derbies usually come down to character and we had lots of that. We did have a one-man advantage for much of the game, but Pirates made it very difficult for us."
Pirates caretaker coach Rhulani Mokwena summarised the pride he had in his team by saying "I thought I was Picasso admiring a beautiful painting."
"This was the most impressive performances by Pirates in a very long time. My boys gave everything only to end up as losers."