Buccaneers Falter in Mbombela

Orlando Pirates endured a disappointing outing at Mbomela Stadium where they fell to a 1-0 defeat in their DStv Premiership clash against TS Galaxy on Saturday afternoon.

It was a second consecutive loss for the Buccaneers who finished the penultimate weekend of the 2023/24 league campaign placed in third place in the league standings.

Heading to Mbombela looking to bounce back after a rare home defeat, they found themselves playing inside their own half for the best part of the opening 10 minutes with the hosts enjoying a bright start to the contest. That period however yielded a solitary shot at goal, which was kept out by Bucs keeper Sipho Chaine who was forced off his line to deny Puso Dithejane in the seventh minute.

Pirates took 18 minutes to conjure a real attempt at the Galaxy goal, and it was a tame effort from Relebohile Mofokeng who set up a comfortable grab for goalkeeper Fiacre Ntwari.

The latter half of the opening period saw Galaxy come close to opening the scoring through midfielder Lindokuhle Mbatha, whose shot from range drifted off target before Lehlohonolo Mojela’s 38th minute effort from a set piece caught a deflection which directed the ball just inches wide of the upright.

The Buccaneers could have taken the lead at the stroke of halftime following patient build-up play inside the Rockets half, but Makhehlene Makhaula was unable to finish off the move from close range as he blasted his shot over the crossbar.

They enjoyed a livelier start to the second half without doing much to threaten the Galaxy goal as chances were kept to a minimum.

The home side meanwhile kept pouncing at opportunities to surge upfield and were kept at bay by the Bucs defence until the 68th minute when they managed to find a breakthrough. It came through an excellent run down the right from Mojela, whose ball across goal was turned into the net by Sphiwe Mahlangu.

Looking to draw level, the visitors had an opportunity through a set piece delivered by Kabelo Dlamini towards replacement striker Evidence Makgopa who lept high to head at goal but sent his shot straight at Ntwari.

The Bucs duo connected once more in the 81st minute as Makgopa attempted to turn a lovely square ball from Dlamini into the near post, only to be denued by the upright.

With time running out, the home side continued to hold firm in defence amid Pirates’ desperate bid to salvage a point.

The final whistle eventually sounded as the Soweto Giants fell short on the road to remain unmoved in the standings.

Pirates XI: Chaine, Sibisi, Ndah (Sesane 46’), Monyane, Maela (Hotto 60’), Mbatha, Makhaula (Pule 72’), Dlamini, Mofokeng, Maswanganyi, Mabasa (Makgopa 72’).

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