5 December, 2023
Orlando Pirates claimed bragging rights in the Original Derby with a 2-0 win against Moroka Swallows in their DStv Premiership encounter held at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night.
The home side have stretched their unbeaten run against their oldest rivals to eight league matches, grabbing maximum points in the iconic fixture for the third time running.
It only took them moments after the first whistle to signal their intent as they got close through a chance sparked up on the left flank by Fortune Makaringe whose storming run and subsequent cross connected with Evidence Makgopa before Swallows keeper Daniel Akpeyi intervened to prevent a shot at goal.
The lanky Bucs striker was more assured with his next touch as he got on the end of a superb ball from Vincent Pule before finishing calmly past Akpeyi. His celebrations were however brief as the offside flag had the final say.
The visitors had opportunities to place the home side under pressure through a succession of set pieces, but could not create clear chances at goal. This was until an ambitious attempt from a long way out by Gabadinho Mhango midway through the first half when he found himself in acres of space on the left flank before unleashing a shot that failed to trouble Pirates keeper Melusi Buthelezi.
The action remained concentrated inside the Birds’ half of the field, where the Buccaneers continued to probe.
Their reward came six minutes from the break when Makgopa matched Pule’s perfectly weighted pass with an equally well-timed run, needing only a single touch to slot home the opener.
Pirates could have gone into the break two goals to the good as captain Tapelo Xoki fell inches short in his attempt to turn the ball into the net from a set piece, with the visitors’ defence regrouping in time to stop the threat.
They carried that momentum into the second half, where they continued to pin the visitors inside their own half, but could not work up any straightforward chances before the hour mark.
The Birds did get a shot away through Kagiso Malinga, who fired wide from a long distance out in the 69th minute.
Their search for the equaliser turned into a steep task following a moment of magic at the other end, provided by Monnapule Saleng just seconds after he was introduced as he darted down the right flank before his cross into the middle was deflected over the line by defender Sipho Sibiya.
With a two-goal advantage inside the final 15 minutes, the Buccaneers came close to a third with Saleng again in the thick of things as he connected with Zakhele Lepasa whose headed flick only succeeded in guiding the ball across goal.
Swallows enjoyed a late surge as they tried to claw their way back into the contest, but struggled to create clear-cut chances.
Pirates were able to manage the remainder of the contest well enough to prevent any goals, as they held on to climb up from ninth to sixth place in the standings by overcoming yet another Soweto rival.
Pirates XI: Buthelezi, Xoki (Sibisi 61’), Ndah, Hotto, Timm, Ndlondlo (Baloni 84’), Maswanganyi (Dlamini 61’), Pule, Makaringe, Mofokeng, Makgopa.