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Sun Apr 20 22:55:22 SAST 2014

Pirates face wrath of their fans

CHUMANI BAMBANI and MARC STRYDOM | 28 August, 2012 06:200 Comments
Soccer Fans during the MTN 8 semi final 2nd leg match between Orlando Pirates and SuperSport United at Orlando Stadium on August 25, 2012 in Soweto
Image by: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

ORLANDO Pirates appear to be off the hook following violence by their fans during an MTN8 semifinal on Saturday night.

Buccaneers fans threw firecrackers onto the pitch at Orlando stadium and fought with SuperSport United supporters.

The Pirates faithful were angered by the sending-off of star player Benni McCarthy and a 3-0 defeat by SuperSport United.

The Premier Soccer League, however, refused to apportion blame to a specific group of fans, saying only a "faction" was responsible.

The PSL official in charge of the disciplinary committee, Ntietso Mofokeng, was not available for comment yesterday .

The PSL's acting chief executive Cambridge Mokanyane said in a statement that the league would "not tolerate such behaviour".

On three occasions firecrackers were thrown in the direction of SuperSport goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez, once resulting in a minute-long stoppage when referee Robert Smith took players to the centre circle.

The Pirates fans appeared to be disgruntled with Smith's handling of the game in which challenges sometimes flew in, and also at the sending-off of McCarthy.

Plastic bottles were thrown onto the pitch at intervals during the second half and after the final whistle.

Mokanyane did not name any specific group, but said: "What we saw ... cannot be condoned. It is not good for us or for the image of football. As the league, we condemn it in the strongest possible ways. The safety of both the players and the fans is our priority."

But on the Orlando Pirates website yesterday, some of the club's fans expressed their disgust.

"Referee or not, we as fans were pathetic and barbaric destroying our own stadia. We also had some poor refereeing decisions going our way in the past, so let's deal with it. I'm so disappointed," said a Pirates supporter named Okonkwo.

Assassin of Orlando said: "This time we are going to pay! How many suspended sentences do we have pending? The PSL is going to make us play behind closed doors here. PSL must act quickly in punishing us, eish. [Club chairman Irvin] Khoza is not independent so he may as well use his position to make sure [the] PSL does not force us to play behind closed doors."

Players and management were also on the receiving end of some harsh words from the spectators.

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