18 October, 2022
Orlando Pirates found some joy on the road as they collected three points after beating Golden Arrows 2-0 in their DStv Premiership fixture at Princess Magogo Stadium on Tuesday night.
In a fixture where goals have been a scarce commodity in recent years, with just two scored in the last six meetings between the two sides, the Buccaneers were in search of their first win since September.
Early signs were that the net would be rattled a few times on the night, with the visitors pushing forward directly from the kick-off before Thabiso Monyane teed up Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, who skied his shot from close range.
The wait for the opening goal was an all-too-brief one, as the breakthrough came in the sixth minute through Monnapule Saleng, who was unselfishly played in by Kermit Erasmus from just inside the box before slotting home calmly to make it 1-0.
Having taken the lead, the Soweto Giants maintained control of the game, and were able to comfortably deal with the odd attack from the hosts, who went in search of the equaliser.
The lively Saleng continued to be a thorn in the opposition’s flesh at the other end, and could have returned the favour for Erasmus when he threaded a through-ball into the path of the Bucs striker, who drew a save from Arrows keeper Nkosingiphile Gumede.
The same duo provided another decisive moment in the 24th minute as the Buccaneers continued their pursuit for a second goal, which came when Erasmus showed great control inside the box before finding Saleng, whose low shot snuck under Gumede on its way to the back of the net.
Like they did after opening the scoring, the Soweto Giants did not decrease the intensity, and continued to pile pressure on the Durbanites.
They could have gone three-up in the 29th minute when Saleng went for goal from just outside the penalty area, but was denied a hat-trick by just mere inches as his shot curled wide of the target.
Further efforts at goal came from Erasmus and Kabelo Dlamini, who both drew saves off Gumede, while Deon Hotto also came close to adding his name to the scoresheet, only to see his shot roll across the face of goal.
It was however the hosts who had the better of the closing exchanges in the first half, winning a free kick in front of the Pirates goal, which was taken by Nqobeko Dlamini, whose dipping shot was comfortably dealt with by Siyabonga Mpontshane.
After finishing the first half on the ascendancy, Abafana Bes’thende sought to pick up where they left off, forcing the Bucs to defend early on.
They were however able to release the pressure, with Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo firing the first shot in anger in the second period, which brought out a fine save from Gumede.
Pirates continued to absorb the pressure from Arrows, who looked to pull one back by pushing men forward, while managing to limit opportunities in their end of the field.
Late substitute Collins Makgaka almost made an immediate impact in the game’s dying moments, drawing attention from the defence deep inside the hosts’ territory, before releasing Ndlondlo, who could not keep his shot down.
Like they finished the first half, the men in green found a spark in injury time, as Mpontshane was forced to make a couple of saves in quick succession to keep the hosts scoreless.
Saleng’s brace proved enough in the end, as the Buccaneers collected all points on offer to climb up to fourth place in the league standings.
Pirates XI: Mpontshane, Ndah, Sibisi, Maela (Mako 66’), Dlamini (Makaringe 58’), Timm (Motshwari 58’), Monyane (88' Makgaka), Hotto, Ndlondlo, Saleng, Erasmus (Lepasa 66’).
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