24 September, 2022
Orlando Pirates Reserves fell on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline as they suffered their first defeat of the season in the hands of Cape Town City in their DStv Diski Challenge fixture held at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.
In an enticing match-up between two of the five sides in the competition that began the weekend still unbeaten, the Bucs Reserves went in search of three points against a City side sporting a 100% record in the early stages of the campaign.
A couple of changes were made up front by coach Joseph Makhanya, who brought in Mohau Nkota and Relebohile Ratomo after both players sat out the goalless draw at home to Stellenbosch last Saturday.
The scorching temperatures out in Atteridgeville did not deter both sides from starting out at a high tempo, with opportunities coming from each end in the opening 10 minutes.
The game's first shot at goal was provided by Nkota, who found space out on the left before miscuing his effort. City then responded through a free-kick taken by Jayden Rhodes, with Bucs keeper Allesandro Du Plessis equal to the task as he punched the ball out of danger.
Nkota remained in the thick of the action as he got on the end of the hosts’ counter in the 10th minute, but his effort was parried out by City keeper, Luca Diana-Oliaro.
The next few chances came courtesy of set pieces, with Ratomo’s attempt at goal from a free-kick blocked out by the City wall before Kgwadi Molepo headed towards goal shortly after a corner, only to direct his shot just wide of the target.
City had another opportunity of their own just before the 20-minute mark through Jaedin Adams, whose left-footed shot appeared goalbound before crashing into the side-netting.
The opener could have come in the 32nd minute when Bucs striker Surprise Matjeni caught the ball on the volley just outside the penalty area, but did not get the necessary connection to trouble Diana-Oliaro.
With neither shot-stopper kept busy in the first 45, the two sides headed into the tunnel still deadlocked at 0-0 after a tentative opening half.
Pirates came out with a little more intensity in the second half, and came close to making it 1-0 rather fortuitously when right-back Siyabonga Ndlozi’s ball into the box almost snuck in on the far post just two minutes after the restart.
The visitors’ first opportunity after the break came just after the hour-mark with the dangerous Luphumlo Sifumba allowed to shoot down the right flank, only to send his effort wide.
They would not have to wait long for the breakthrough, and it came in the 71st minute through Rhodes, who breached Du Plessis’ defences from close range.
Pirates’ desperate search for an equalising goal failed to yield much promise, with the team from the Cape seemingly content with hanging back and defending their slim lead.
This was until just five minutes from the final whistle when Rhodes turned from goal-scorer to creator as he found Sifumba, whose flick from inside the box landed in the back of the net, making it 2-0.
The closing moments proved too much of an uphill climb for the Bucs Reserves, despite late chances that fell to Ratomo and Seun Moremi, who both could not find a way past Diana-Oliaro.
A miserable afternoon for the hosts came to an end as the last whistle sounded, confirming their first defeat of the season, while their opponents collected a third win in as many matches since the start of the campaign.
Pirates Reserves XI: Du Plessis, Spandiel, Ngiba, Ndlozi, Kabini, Molepo, Bule (Mokone 56’), Khumalo (Moremi 74’), Nkota (Mdunge 61’), Ratomo, Matjeni (Maphumulo 56’).
DStv Diski Challenge Preview: Cape Town City
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