15 January, 2023
A late penalty handed Orlando Pirates Reserves a tight 1-0 win over TS Galaxy in their DStv Diski Challenge game played at Rand Stadium on Sunday morning.
It was a clash between two in form teams - both unbeaten in their last five games - with the Buccaneers on a five-game winning streak, while Galaxy were looking for a fourth consecutive victory.
Much of the first half was however uneventful, with nothing to shout about at either end outside a few half chances.
Most of these fell to the hosts who were forced to try their hand from deep as Seun Moremi volleyed from just outside the penalty area in the 13th minute, only to send his shot off target.
Relebohile Ratomo and Jabulani Mokone both had opportunities to shoot from range inside the opening half hour, with neither finding the target, and the best chance of the first half came on the stroke of halftime when Cassius Spandiel’s glancing header from a free kick bounced just wide of the target.
The second period turned out to be a livelier affair compared to the first, with the hosts upping the tempo after emerging from the tunnel.
Mohau Nkota came close to opening the scoring in the 54th minute when he forced a save from the keeper directly from a corner kick.
Pirates kept finding chances via set pieces, with Ratomo fizzing the ball past the upright from a free kick in front of the goal.
Mehluleli Maphumulo and Lebo Mohlala each had shots at goal after the hour mark, but without altering the scorecard, and the introduction of Siphamandla Mdunge injected some pace which troubled the Galaxy defence in the closing 20 minutes.
The diminutive Bucs winger had an opportunity to get his name on the scorecard when he found the side-netting from a tight angle in the 71st minute, but made a telling impact when he surged into the box only to be brought down, winning a penalty for his side.
Spandiel stepped up to the spot, and made no mistake as his powerful low shot into the bottom corner crashed into the net.
Pirates had another call for a spot kick six minutes later when Ratomo went to ground, but their appeals were rebuffed this time around.
Searching for the equaliser, Galaxy enjoyed some territorial dominance late in the game, but the hosts managed to hang on for their sixth straight win which consolidated their spot at the top of the standings.
Pirates XI: Du Plessis, Mokone (Mdunge 67’), Spandiel, Ngiba, Ndlozi, Mohlala, Molepo, Moremi (Bule 66’), Khoto (Mndebele 54’), Nkota (Maphumulo 54), Ratomo.
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