Orlando Pirates claimed a massive confidence-boosting 2-1 win over rivals Kaizer Chiefs in a heated Soweto Derby on Saturday afternoon.
Both sides came into the game looking to climb further up the table albeit in contrasting form. Pirates with only two wins from seven games in 2021, while Chiefs have finally found their feet under Gavin Hunt after a rocky start by winning three and drawing three of their six games since the turn of the year.
Ntsikelelo Nyauza and Vincent Pule were both handed a start by Josef Zinnbauer for Pirates while Chiefs also made two alterations, with Njabulo Blom and Kearyn Baccus returning to the midfield.
Chiefs started the better of the two teams and, after two long-range Baccus efforts the only action of note in the opening 19 minutes, matters heated up as Chiefs almost broke the deadlock. In a goal-mouth scramble Lebogang Manyama had two bites of the cherry after Richard Ofori fumbled a cross, his first effort well blocked by Thulani Hlatshwayo before blasting the rebound wide.
Moments later Samir Nurkovic went close as he beautifully plucked a long ball from Reeve Frosler before unleashing a powerful volley, which flew just inches wide.
Despite Chiefs taking all the early chances, it was the Sea Robbers who snatched the lead. A poor headed clearance by Frosler allowed Thembinkosi Lorch through on goal, the winger calmly rounded the keeper and slipped the ball into an empty net.
The scoreline was 1-0 to Pirates at the break, arguably against the run of play.
The Glamour Boys came out with intent in the second half and, after just six minutes, were handed a golden chance to level the scores as Happy Mashiane was taken down inside the Pirates box. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Chiefs captain on the day Nurkovic stepped up to the spot and hit a powerful effort on goal, but his effort was too close to Ofori, allowing the Ghanaian to get a strong hand on the ball. Siyabonga Ngezana, though, looked to be gifted a goal when the rebound fell into his path. However, the defender inexplicably smashed his effort narrowly wide with the goal gaping.
The huge miss didn’t deter Amakhosi as they continued to show great intent by pushing bodies forward and looking to find an equaliser. Pirates, on the other hand, were looking to manage the game by remaining disciplined and resolute all while maintaining a threat on the break.
With 69 minutes gone, Pirates thought they should have had a penalty of their own when Njabulo Blom pulled down Vincent Pule inside the box, but the whistle wielder waved away the protests despite what looked like an easy call. Pirates players were so incensed by the decision that they went to confront the referee, which resulted in three yellow cards.
With 11 minutes to go, the Buccaneers sealed the game. Paseko Mako made a marauding run down the left flank before playing a one-two to get to the byline inside the box. The substitute got his head up and picked out fellow sub Siphesihle Ndlovu, who unerringly made it 2-0.
Chiefs, though, would not lie down and three minutes later they were back in the game as Daniel Cardoso rose highest to head in at the back post, after some pinball in the box following a corner which Pirates failed to clear.
Chiefs threw everything forward in search of a share of the spoils in the closing stages, but the Buccaneers managed to weather the storm to claim a massive confidence-boosting win over their closest rivals.
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