Saleng gives 'humble and hungry' Orlando Pirates final victory

Monnapule Saleng scored direct from a free-kick to give Orlando Pirates a 1-0 victory over AmaZulu on Saturday in the South African MTN 8 final in Durban.

As the 24-year-old winger prepared to take the kick near the touchline the chances of him scoring seemed slim in front of a 50,000 crowd that included former president Jacob Zuma.

But to the astonishment of AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa the ball dippedinto the far corner of the net to trigger wild celebrations among Pirates supporters.

Saleng is the man of the moment in South African football after twice scoring two goals last month and winning a first call up to the national squad.

"My boys were humble and hungry and worthy representatives of this great club," said Jose Riveiro, the Spanish coach of Pirates.

"It is wonderful to lift a trophy just a few months after arriving at Pirates and I hope there will be many more successes."

France-born AmaZulu coach Romain Folz said: "A draw would have been a fairer result. We were poor in the first half, but much better after the break."

In a match of few clearcut chances, an AmaZulu attack spearheaded by Malawian Frank Mhango and Nigerian Augustine Kwem rarely threatened to equalise at Moses Mabhida Stadium.

When AmaZulu did break through, Pirates goalkeeper Richard Ofori was in outstanding form. He is likely to be part of the Ghana squad for the World Cup in Qatar from November 20.

Success was particularly sweet for Pirates, the second most popular club in South Africa behind Kaizer Chiefs, as it was only the second trophy they have lifted in eight seasons.

The MTN 8 is an annual knockout competition featuring the top eight finishers in the previous league and offers a winners-take-all eight million rand ($445,000/450,000 euros) prize.

dl/pb