Vodacom Challenge: Final
Tottenham Hotspur have emerged as 2011 Vodacom Challenge champions after a 3-0 victory over Orlando Pirates FC in the final played at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon.
The scoreline was reminiscent of the 2007 Vodacom Challenge final, when Tottenham Hotspur beat The Buccaneers by the same margin.
On this occasion, Rafael van der Vaart scored two fine goals, before Jermain Defoe added a third near the end of the game. Orlando Pirates missed a penalty through Tlou Segolela.
But it all might have been different as Orlando Pirates FC should have taken the lead when they had two excellent chances after 12 minutes of the game.
First Segolela was put free on the left, but his first touch was heavy and it allowed the covering defender to close him down, blocking his shot for a corner. And from that set-piece, Thulasizwe Mbuyane had a free header that he put wide of the goal when he really should have scored.
Orlando Pirates had a scare at their end when Aaron Lennon put over a teasing cross that goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa just managed to get a touch on to take the ball off the head of the lurking Peter Crouch.
And when Tom Huddlestone found space on the right, his cross had to be twice cleared by Siyabonga Sangweni, first from Crouch and then Van der Vaart.
Van der Vaart's long-range free-kick was deflected wide of goal, while at the other end Mbuyane had another excellent opportunity to make it 1-0. Segolela beat Kyle Walker on the right and his cross was headed wide by an unmarked Mbuyane.
The chances kept coming for Orlando Pirates FC as this time it was Bongani Ndulula who saw his goal-bound effort deflected just over the bar. At the other end, Crouch volleyed over.
But it was Tottenham Hotspur who took the lead on 35 minutes and for the second time in as many matches, Van der Vaart converted a free-kick past Meyiwa from almost exactly the same place.
Segolela went on another fine run before feeding Ndulula, but the big striker could only side-foot wide from 18-yards and the English visitors led 1-0 at the break.
Van der Vaart netted his second of the game on 53 minutes when he beat the offside trap to break clear on goal. Meyiwa did brilliantly to save his first effort from point-blank range, but the Dutch international kept his cool to chip home the rebound.
Orlando Pirates FC substitute Rudolf Bester forced a fine save from Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes as he shot on the turn. It was becoming clear though that The Buccaneers were wilting as they played their third game in five days.
The English side thought they had a third when Defoe flicked the ball on for Gareth Bale to volley home, but the Welshman was ruled offside and the goal did not stand.
Bale almost got behind the Orlando Pirates FC defence again, but this time Happy Jele was able to steer him away from danger.
Orlando Pirates FC were gifted a way back into the game when Zambian referee Wellington Kaoma awarded The Buccaneers a penalty after a handball from Sebastien Bassong following Segolela's cross.
Segolela stepped up to take the spot-kick himself, but struck a post with Gomes beaten and the score remained 2-0.
Bester forced a fine save from Gomes as time began to ebb away, and from the resultant corner, Lucas Thwala headed wide. Mark Mayambela then headed over, but the game was over as a contest with three minutes remaining.
Bale crossed from the left and the ball was inch-perfect for Defoe to volley home past a helpless Meyiwa.
Saturday, July 23
At Coca-Cola Park, Johannesburg
Orlando Pirates FC 0
Tottenham Hotspur (1) 3 (Van der Vaart 35', 53', Defoe 87')
Cautions: Klate 32', Jali 34'
Pirates: Senzo Meyiwa, Happy Jele, Lucky Lekgwathi (Rooi Mahamutsa 63'), Siyabonga Sangweni (Robyn Johannes 63'), Reuben Cloete (Lucas Thwala 68'), Thulasize Mbuyane (Sameehg Doutie 46'), Oupa Manyisa, Andile Jali (Clifford Ngobeni 80'), Daine Klate (Rudolf Bester 63'), Tlou Segolela (Ndumiso Mabena 87'), Bongani Ndulula (Mark Mayambela 62')
Coach: Julio Leal
Tottenham: Huerelho Gomes, Kyle Walker (Alan Hutton 46'), Sebastien Bassong, Bongani Khumalo, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Aaron Lennon (Roman Pavlyuchenko 60'), Luka Modric (Gareth Bale 71'), Tom Huddlestone (Wilson Palacios 46'), Steven Pienaar (Niko Kranjcar 46'), Rafael van der Vaart, Peter Crouch (Jermain Defoe 46')
Coach: Harry Redknapp