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German coach helps Orlando Pirates end six-year trophy drought

Johannesburg (AFP) – An Orlando Pirates team coached by German Josef Zinnbauer ended a six-year trophy drought when they beat Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 Saturday in the South African MTN 8 final.

The famed Soweto club and former African champions last lifted a trophy in 2014 when they won the Nedbank Cup, the South African equivalent of the English FA Cup.  

Siphelele Luthuli gave underdogs Celtic an early lead in an empty Durban stadium owing to the coronavirus and Namibian Deon Hotto levelled before half-time.

Celtic were reduced to 10 men on 58 minutes when Thato Lingwati was red-carded after conceding a penalty, which Thembinkosi Lorch converted to win the final.   

Zinnbauer succeeded where a number of local and foreign coaches have failed in recent seasons and he hailed the resilience of his team after falling behind inside three minutes.

“We fought back bravely and created many chances,” he said while being drenched with champagne by his celebrating players as he talked to the media.

“My team became a bit defensive after taking the lead and we also had a little luck toward the end. However, Pirates have waited a long time for this moment and deserved the victory.”

The MTN 8 involved the eight highest placed clubs from the previous league season and offered only one prize — eight million rand ($530,000/440,000 euros) to the winners.

Pirates and Celtic will represent South Africa in the 2020-2021 CAF Confederation Cup, which is modelled on the UEFA Europa League. 

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