19 November, 2022
Orlando Pirates Reserves claimed their fourth straight win as they defeated Sekhukhune United in their DStv Diski Challenge fixture held at Rand Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
In the last round of fixtures before the upcoming FIFA break, the Soweto Giants were on a mission to close out the year on a winning note and maintain their current run of good form.
It was the young Babina Noko - billed as hosts on the day - who had the better of the early chances, with the Bucs Reserves pretty much starved of opportunities throughout the opening half.
The men from Sekhukhune could have taken the lead as early as the 22nd minute when Bucs keeper Allesandro Du Plessis was forced into a stunning save to keep out a stinging shot from deep.
The shot-stopper remained the busier of the two men between the poles as he commanded his area to keep things goalless midway through the first half before he was called upon once more late in the first half as he palmed away a seemingly goal-bound shot from a free kick.
Pirates did have a rare shot at goal in the opening stanza with Njabulo Mndebele trying his luck from distance, only to hit his shot straight at the keeper on the stroke of halftime.
It was a different game altogether on the other side of the break, as the Soweto Giants began displaying the form that had brought about their winning streak.
Shots from Mndebele and Mohau Nkota failed to find the target early on in the second period as the Buccaneers dominated proceedings.
The breakthrough came two minutes after the hour mark when Relebohile Ratomo weaved his magic on the left flank before finding Nkota, who made no mistake in finishing from just inside the penalty area.
It could have been 2-0 just eight minutes later as Mndebele went for goal from a set-piece taken from a tight angle, only for his effort to be palmed away by the keeper.
The next big moment in the game came at the other end when a penalty was awarded to Sekhukhune in the 77th minute.
That proved to be an opportunity for Du Plessis to cap off a fine performance with another superb save, diving to his left to keep out an audacious chip from the spot.
Pirates were made to weather a late storm from the home side, who were unable to equalise despite enjoying more of the possession as the clock wound down.
A surge in the dying moments saw Ratomo come close to doubling the lead with one minute of regulation time remaining as he shot over the crossbar in a one-on-one situation with the keeper.
The Bucs playmaker would quickly make amends a minute into injury time by doubling the lead after making a fantastic run on the left hand side of the field moments before cutting in and finishing from close range.
The goal sealed the victory, stretching the young Buccaneers’ unbeaten run to an impressive six games.
Pirates Reserves XI: Du Plessis, Mohlala, Ngiba, Kabini, Ndlozi, Molepo (Bule 83’), Mndebele (Moremi 83’), Khumalo, Mokone (Mdunge 64’), Ratomo, Nkota (Matjeni 74’).