Orlando Pirates moved six points clear of Mamelodi Sundowns at the top of the Absa Premiership after claiming a 2-1 victory over Free State Stars at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.
The Buccaneers came into this game on a six game unbeaten – having claimed a 2-1 victory over Black Leopards in their previous league encounter last Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Ea Lla Koto played their last league encounter on the 16th of March when they claimed a 4-1 victory over AmaZulu.
The last time the two sides met, the Soweto giants came out on top after registering a 3-1 victory over Stars at Goble Park.
The home side got off to good start and dominated proceedings early on, while Stars were forced to sit back and soak up the pressure.
Relebogile Mokhuoane had the first chance of the game when he unleashed a strike from distance, but Wayne Sandilands did well to make the save.
Ea Lla Koto produced their second chance of the game after 20 minutes when Makhehleni Makhaula tested the Pirates shot-stopper from range.
Luvuyo Memela nearly broke the deadlock after 39 minutes after he almost got behind the Stars defence, but was denied by Sifiso Mbhele’s last ditch challenge to deny the Pirates attacker.
Nyiko Mobbie came to his sides rescue on the stroke of half time when he did well to get in between his man to clear Mthokozisi Dube’s cross into the area.
The home side took an early lead in the second half when Mahamutsa fouled Memela in the area. Musa Nyatama stepped up and made no mistake from the spot-kick.
Pirates then doubled their lead six minutes later when Justin Shonga headed the ball into an empty net after Mbambo is left stranded by his attempt to cut Innocent Maela’s shot.
Marshall Munetsi thought he found the back of the net after he bundled the ball over the line from a resulting free kick, but the referee disallowed the ball for a foul in the box.
Vincent Pule came close to extending his sides lead when he was played through on goal by Augustine Mulenga, but the Pirates forward was unable to direct his shot on target as it sailed inches wide of goal.
Harris Tchilimbou should have reduced the deficit just after the 70th minute when he got on to the end of a cross in the area, but he could only steer his header narrowly wide of Sandilands goal.
Mobbie produced another chance for Stars minutes later after he broke into the Pirates box to fire an effort at goal, but Sandilands got a touch on the ball as it crashed into the side-netting.
The visitors did managed to pull a goal back in the 81st minute when Eleazar Rodgers rose the heightist to head the ball home to make it 2-1.
Sandilands was called into action in stoppage time when he did well to keep out Mobbie’s goal-bound effort.
Stars had another chance to draw the game level moments later when Mahamutsa tried to latch on to a ball cross the face of goal after he was left unmarked, but he could not get his feet to the ball.
However, the Buccaneers managed to hold on to their lead over Stars until the final whistle to stretch their lead at the top of the table to six points.
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