Bucs Reserves End Season in Defeat

Orlando Pirates Reserves suffered an upset in their final game of the 2023/24 DStv Diski Challenge, losing 2-1 to Polokwane City on Saturday morning.

The result means that the Bucs Reserves finish their campaign in third place with 58 points after winning 18 of their 30 games.

They went to the New Polokwane Stadium looking to continue in their strong run on the backend of the season, but were immediately put on the back foot as the home side took the lead as early as the 10th minute. The opening goal came after a sustained period of pressure, finished off with an excellent finish from outside the box.

In response, the young Buccaneers had some bright moments on attack but weren’t able to convert, with Ciniso Mazibuko fluffing a chance straight after the home side’s opener when he was played one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

Bucs forward Simphiwe Masilela had an opportunity of his own halfway through the opening period, but had his long-range effort blocked inside the box.

Pirates’ best chance of the first half fell to striker Mehluleli Maphumulo, who had the goal at his mercy only to scoop the ball over the crossbar with just three minutes left before the break.

The home side could have gone two goals up straight from the second half restart, but could not find the net with a header from close range.

It was the Buccaneers who controlled possession for much of the early part of the second period, as they resumed their search for the equaliser.

They levelled matters in the 58th minute through Tebogo Masemola, who continued his goal-scoring run as he found the net for the third time in his last two starts.

Pirates’ joy was however short-lived as they were reduced to 10 men just three minutes later when Jabulani Mokone was given his marching orders after exchanging words with the referee.

Goalkeeper Khumoetsile Rathokolo kept the visitors in the contest with some fine saves, keeping out a seemingly goal-bound effort from close range in the 76th minute before producing a similar outcome four minutes later when dealing with an awkward ball delivered from a set piece.

There were chances at the other end where Maphumulo and second-half replacement Aphelele Nzimande each fired wide as the Soweto Giants defied their numerical disadvantage by dominating the game’s closing moments.

Maphumulo was presented with a golden opportunity with seconds left on the clock when he was set up by defender Mbekezile Mbokazi, but missed from point-blank range.

Pirates were immediately made to rue the spurned chance, with the hosts finding a late winner after launching a counter from deep inside opposition territory.

That rounded off a season of heartbreak for the Bucs Reserves, who finished off in disappointment with a loss on the road.

Pirates XI: Rathokolo, Magugwana, Mbokazi, Mokone, Mhlambi, Selepe, Dansin, Masemola, Masilela, Mazibuko, Maphumulo.

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