Orlando Pirates missed out on the Absa Premiership title despite a double from Thembinkosi Lorch that helped guide the Soweto giants to a 3-0 win over Polokwane City in their last Absa Premiership clash of the season.
Pirates came into the encounter knowing that they would need to pick up all three points and hope that Free State Stars could take points off Mamelodi Sundowns if the Buccaneers were going to win the league title.
Polokwane City have had a successful season, though, and were looking to finish strong and throw a spanner in the works for the race to the title.
It was the visitors who were quickest out of the blocks and came close after just one minute as Mohammed Anas poked wide with only Wayne Sandilands to beat.
That chance seemed to wake up Pirates, who took the lead moments later when Thembinkosi Lorch was slipped through on goal, the Bafana Bafana forward making no mistake, keeping his composure and sliding the ball into the bottom corner.
Pirates then doubled their lead with 20 minutes gone as Vincent Pule produced a moment of magic, striking a dipping volley from range which left the keeper no chance as it hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced over the line.
Augustine Mulenga then went close to scoring his side’s third, but his powerful header was well saved by Lehlohonolo Phali.
Pirates were on fire as Lorch bagged his brace and his side’s third three minutes before the break. The forward was on the end of some magnificent build-up play which he rounded off with confidence
3-0 at the break with Pirates doing their part in the final day title showdown.
City came out with more effort and vigour in the second half, while Pirates were looking to control both the possession and tempo of the game.
Pirates were struggling to find the fluidity with which they were playing in the opening stanza, though.
Jozef Vukusic’s men continued to surge forward and almost pulled one back in the 62nd minute when Bongile Booi rose highest to meet a cross, but his header cannoned off the cross bar.
Both sides were struggling to make inroads and were restricted to long-range efforts.
Pirates walked away 3-0 winners, but with Mamelodi Sundowns winning 1-0 against Free State Stars, the Buccaneers finish second for a second successive season, just two points behind Downs.
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