30 April, 2023
Orlando Pirates claimed a hard-fought 2-1 victory over TS Galaxy in their DStv Premiership fixture against TS Galaxy at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The result saw the Buccaneers reclaiming second spot in the standings, putting themselves in pole position for a return to continental cup competition with just three league fixtures remaining in the current campaign.
Having enjoyed scintillating form over the past weeks, the Buccaneers were looking for a sixth successive league victory and looked to be on their way as early as the second minute when from their first corner, Terrence Dzvukamanja headed in from the near post to make it a dream start on the road.
The early strike appeared to a confidence-booster for the Soweto Giants, who dominated in both possession and territory, pinning the home side inside their half.
Despite doing most of the attacking, Pirates were starved of out-and-out opportunities at goal, making do with half-chances for much of the first half with Monnapule Saleng and Dlamini each failing to challenge Galaxy keeper Melusi Buthelezi with their shots at goal.
They were forced into some defensive work midway through the first period, with Nkosinathi Sibisi intervening as Kamogelo Sebelebele headed goalward.
The scores were however level six minutes from the break as the hosts hit back through their skipper Given Msimango, who nodded in from a corner as set plays proved to be the trump card for both sides.
Dlamini went for goal directly from a free kick moments before the halftime whistle, but pulled his shot just wide of the target, having managed to successfully evade Galaxy’s defensive wall.
The second half could have had a similar start to the first with Dzvukamanja looking to double his tally, this time with a long-range effort with his left boot, but the Bucs striker could only draw a save from Buthelezi.
The visitors kept knocking, and eventually found an opening just before the hour mark when they kept the pressure on following another set piece before ahead of Tapelo Xoki finding Hotto deep inside the box, with the winger heading in from close range to restore the lead.
Looking to draw level once more, the Rockets initiated wave after wave of attack, with Bucs keeper Sipho Chaine kept busy as he made saves in quick succession, first denying Orebotse Mongae before keeping out Tsegofatso Nyama’s effort from close range.
The game’s dying moments were action-packed as Kermit Erasmus got close from a set-piece before Saleng got clear on goal, only to be thwarted by Buthelezi.
The hosts went for a last-gasp equaliser deep in injury time and managed to make it as far as the Bucs penalty area when Makhehleni Makhaula made a timely stop to preserve his side’s lead.
The final whistle sounded shortly after, with Pirates marching on to yet another crucial victory, their sixth in as many league games.
Pirates XI: Chaine, Sibisi, Xoki, Monyane (Shandu 81’), Mako, Timm (Makhaula 65’), Monare, Saleng, Hotto, Dlamini (Makaringe 81’), Dzvukamanja (Erasmus 65’).
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