Bernard Morrison netted his first-ever goal for Orlando Pirates as they defeated Ajax Cape Town 1-0 in an Absa Premiership encounter at the Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
Milutin Sredojevic made three changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Baroka, as Happy Jele, Mthokozisi Dube and Bernard Morrison replaced Abbubaker Mobara, Luvuyo Memela and Musa Nyatama respectively.
Stanley Menzo’s side headed into the encounter with just one point from their first two games.The Dutchman also made three changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Maritzburg United, with Mario Booysen, Tercious Malepe and Neo Makua replacing Eric Chipeta, Bantu Mzwakali and Roderick Kabwe.
Pirates did all the attacking in the opening exchanges, but struggled to break down a well-organised Ajax side, who were content to catch them on the break.
Gabuza did well to evade the attention of defenders in the area, but failed to direct his header goal-bound from Mpho Makola’s enticing ball into the area.
Ajax should have opened the scoring in the seventh minute when Mosadi got the beating of two defenders, before playing an inch-perfect ball in Morris’ path, but the striker misplaced his effort.
The visitors would rue their missed effort, as Pirates broke the deadlock two minutes later when Morrison got on to the end of a flick-on at the back post before firing home.
Ajax could have been level two minutes later when Mosadi found himself in space in the area, but the winger’s rushed effort lacked accuracy.
Pirates continued to threaten the visitors goalframe and they looked likely to add another, which was aided by Ajax’ poor defending, but for all their efforts, Pirates failed to add another.
Ajax struggled to deal with goal-scorer Morrison, who threatened with his pace and trickery. The visitors offered little in resistance to Pirates’ first-half dominance and were fortunate to go into the half-time break with only a one-goal deficit.
Menzo’s side started the second-half the brighter of the two teams, but almost fell behind via a blistering counter-attacking move, which saw Gabuza play Qalinge through on goal, but the winger placed his effort straight into the hands of goalkeeper Brandon Petersen.
Gabuza had the ball in the back of the net in the 51st minute, but he was adjudged to have been in an off-side position.
Pirates made the first change in the 58th minute when Thembinkosi Lorch replaced the goal-scorer. Ajax responded with their own change as Prince Nxumalo took the place of Malepe.
Pirates continued their search for a goal, as did Ajax, but both teams put up a great defensive effort, thwarting each other’s attacking efforts. Menzo opted for his final roll of the dice as he brought on Mzwakali for Makua.
Gabuza had the ball in the net for the second time in the 68th minute, but again, the forward was adjudged to have been in an offside position, much to the dismay of the Pirates faithful.
Content with his side’s lead, Micho shut up shop as he brough on Issa Sarr for Qalinge.
The home side missed a great opportunity to seal the tie when Petersen failed to deal with a corner that saw the ball fall to Musa Nyatama, but the midfielder skewed his effort.
Pirates saw out the remaining minutes of the encounter to run out 1-0 victors and maintain their unbeaten start to the season.
In the other PSL games:
Late goals by Sifiso Myeni and Jeremy Brockie spoiled a happy debut for Roger De SA as SuperSport United defeated Platinum Stars 2-0.
Gift Motupa scored a brace as Baroka FC registered a 3-1 win over Chippa United.
Micheal Morton’s own goal was cancelled out by Mhlengi Cele as AmaZulu and Maritzburg United played to a 1-1 draw.
Photo: Gavin Barker/Backpagepix