29 October, 2022
Orlando Pirates Reserves claimed their third win of the season when they held on to clinch a slim 1-0 win against Maritzburg United in their DStv Diski Challenge (DDC) fixture at Princess Magogo Stadium on Saturday.
Without a win in their last three outings, the Bucs Reserves’ search for consistency continued as they headed to the coast, where they came up against a side fresh off putting four goals past rivals Richards Bay.
It was the Team of Choice that started the brighter of the two sides, getting a shot at goal through ex-Bucs attacker Andiswa Sithole, who hooked his shot well wide of the target.
Pirates came close in the eighth minute through Mohau Nkota, who almost snuck one into the top corner from a set-piece situation, but they wouldn’t have to wait long for the breakthrough, which came just two minutes later.
Midfielder Njabulo Mndebele was the man whose decisive touch made it 1-0 as he found himself on the perfect spot inside the penalty area to receive a low cross from Gomolemo Khoto, and made no mistake in slotting in.
The Buccaneers were not satisfied with just the one goal, and set about looking to stretch their lead and almost succeeded 15 minutes in when Relebohile Ratomo’s shot was kept out after the attacker got on the end of a quick counter.
They kept pushing, with Mohau Nkota forcing a low save from the keeper with a powerful shot in the 25th minute, before Mndebele came just inches short of completing his brace on the half-hour mark, only for his shot to be fingertipped into safety.
Maritzburg were able to threaten late in the first half, keeping Pirates inside their own territory but without managing a shot at goal.
The second half was however a more subdued affair, with the Buccaneers looking satisfied with preserving their lead, while the Team of Choice struggled to find holes inside the defence.
A lapse in concentration from Pirates in the 55th minute could have ended up disastrous, as they lost possession at the back before goalkeeper Allesandro Du Plessis was forced into a desperate save, which allowed the defence to scramble back and deal with the subsequent attack coming from the rebound.
Out-and-out chances dried up as the final whistle approached, but the Bucs Reserves could have put the result beyond doubt when Mehluleli Maphumulo burst through the middle three minutes from the final whistle, but his chip towards goal was comfortably dealt with by the keeper.
It remained 1-0 in the end, with Pirates claiming victory and climbing up to sixth place on the log ahead of Sunday’s DDC action.
Pirates Reserves XI: Du Plessis, Mohlala, Ngiba, Ndlozi, Kabini, Molepo, Mndebele (Moremi 81’), Khumalo, Khoto (Mokone 63’), Nkota (Maphumulo 68’), Ratomo (Mabuza 81’).
DStv Diski Challenge Preview: Maritzburg United
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