Orlando Pirates suffered their first league loss of the season in a 1-0 defeat to Bidvest Wits, courtesy of Gladwin Shitolo’s own goal at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening, writes MARSHALL GOUTS.
The Clever Boys looked to maintain their perfect record in the 2018-19 campaign after claiming victories against Free State Stars and Kaizer Chiefs. To maintain the continuity, Gavin Hunt named an unchanged lineup from his first two league outings.
Milutin Sredojevic’s side were aiming to bounce back from their MTN8 Cup elimination at the hands of SuperSport United. The Buccaneers were in search of their second league victory of the season after being held to a 1-1 draw against Highlands Park and narrowly beating Chippa United 1-0.
The home side started the brighter of the two teams and had an opportunity as early as the third minute, but striker Justin Shonga fluffed his effort from within the area.
Wits almost took the lead through a swift counter-attacking move, but Mxolisi Macuphu’s goalbound effort was tipped over the bar by Pirates goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane.
Neither side were able to take a proper stronghold on the game, while a fierce battle ensued in the middle of the park.
Shonga was presented with a golden opportunity to draw first blood, but his effort was kept out by goalkeeper Darren Keet from a one-on-one situation.
Bucs opted for a change in the second half when Thamsanqa Gabuza was introduced for Augustine Mulenga. Pirates sprang to life, with wing Vincent Pule using his pace and trickery to cause his former side a few scares. He almost took the lead in the 53rd minute but his effort cannoned off the upright.
The visitors made two changes in quick succession with striker Simon Murray and midfielder Haashim Domingo replacing Gift Motupa and Terrence Dzvukamanja.
Pirates made another change when Paseka Mako came on for the out-of-sorts Shonga.
Wits took the lead in the 81st minute when Domingo’s cross took a wicked deflection off Shitolo to creep in behind the goalkeeper at the near post.
In the end, the visitors did enough to maintain their 100% unbeaten start to the 2018-19 campaign with a 1-0 victory against Pirates.
Photo: Gallo Images