Wayne Sandilands was the hero as he saved two penalties to help guide Orlando Pirates to a tight 2-1 win over SuperSport United on Saturday.
The Soweto giants came into the game looking for their first win since the restart, while also hoping to find their scoring boots after bagging only one goal in the four games since the resumption.
SuperSport, on the other hand, would have been brimming with confidence ahead of the encounter after three wins and a draw since their return to action.
Kaitano Tembo’ side almost got off to the perfect start with three minutes gone when Aubrey Modiba delivered an inch-perfect cross from the left-hand side to the back post for Guily Manziba, whose half-volleyed effort was straight at Wayne Sandilands.
Sandilands was again called into action in the 16th minute after Teboho Mokoena played a delightful one-two with Modiba and broke in to the area one on one with Sandilands, but the keeper capitalised on a poor touch to snatch the ball.
Moments later it was Pirates’ chance to go close after Thatayaone Ditlhokwe’s slip at the back allowed Gabadinho Mhango in on goal. His fierce strike, which looked destined for the bottom right-hand corner, was expertly saved by Ronwen Williams though. The rebound fell straight to Vincent Pule, who then blazed over.
The Soweto giants then began to find their rhythm and finally took the lead through a terrific strike from Pule from outside of the box, which flew into the bottom corner.
Pirates looked destined to lead at half time until centre back Luke Fleurs rose highest to head home a corner from Jamie Webber at the back post.
SuperSport had the first opportunity of the second half when Webber swung a low cross into the box along the turf from the right-hand side, which found Bradley Grobler, only to see his effort saved by Sandilands.
After SuperSport dominated the first 15 minutes of the second half, Josef Zinnbauer was forced into a change as he brought on Zakhele Lepasa. This had an instant impact as Lepasa latched on to Lorch’s beautifully weighted pass before slotting home.
Tembo’s charges then had a golden chance to equalise after Ghampani Lungu, who had been introduced in place of Manziba just seconds before, got the wrong side of Innocent Maela with the Bucs defender hauling him to the ground just inside the box. Grobler stepped up and tried to go straight down the middle, but Sandilands saved with his legs to deny Matsatsantsa the equaliser.
Kaitano Tembo’s side had a chance to redeem themselves just five minutes later when they won another penalty after Ntsikelelo Nyauza fouled Modiba. This time, substitute Thamsanqa Gabuza stepped up but his tame penalty was kept out by Sandilands, who still did brilliantly to guess the right way.
Sandilands became the hero of the day as his side managed to hold on for victory and secure a their first three points of the season.
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