20 May, 2023
Orlando Pirates claimed their biggest victory of the season in their final DStv Premiership fixture of the 2021/22 campaign as they breezed past AmaZulu with a 4-0 win in their game played at Moses Mabhida Stadium on Saturday.
The victory ensured that the Buccaneers will be present at the upcoming CAF Champions League, having staved off a stiff challenge from SuperSport United to finish second in the league standings.
Coming up against a side looking to make the most of an outside chance of making the top eight, a frantic start greeted the two sides as the visitors signalled their intentions from the first whistle.
They conjured up a golden opportunity as early as the second minute when Monnapule Saleng was put clear on goal by poor communication at the back, but pulled off a rather uncharacteristic miss as he pushed his shot wide of the target.
There was no time for the hosts to make Pirates rue the squandered chance as the game’s opening goal came in the fifth minute through Thabiso Monyane, who was played in on the right before sneaking the ball past goalkeeper Jody February’s near post.
The game continued with the Buccaneers still on the ascendancy, with chances falling to Kermit Erasmus and Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, whose shots at goal were kept out by February.
AmaZulu had opportunities of their own, mainly through set pieces, but weren’t able to make an impact on the scoresheet.
They were left with a mountain to climb in the 36th minute when the ball found its way to Saleng on the left, who located Relebohile Ratomo in the middle, and the youngster made no mistake in slotting home his first senior goal to make it 2-0.
The task was made even steeper for the host just four minutes later, with Saleng finishing this time around as he made a run down the centre before guiding the ball past February.
Having gone into the break three goals to the good, Pirates did not ease their intensity as they went in search of their fourth early after the second-half restart.
It almost came in the 49th minute when Erasmus collected a loose ball just inside the box, only managing to send his shot wide.
Usuthu striker Bonginkosi Ntuli managed to disrupt Bucs keeper Sipho Chaine’s quiet afternoon with an effort from close range after the hour mark, which was brilliantly saved by the shot-stopper.
This was moments before Monyane went in search of his second, getting behind the defence before being denied by February.
With 10 minutes on the clock, the visitors found their fourth through late replacement Kabelo Dlamini, who slotted home from close range to extend the lead.
That put the result way beyond doubt, as the Buccaneers rebuffed the hosts’ attempts at a consolation goal to claim a clean sheet, clinching a win that sees them finishing with 54 points in second place.
Pirates XI: Chaine, Sibisi, Mthethwa, Mako (Maela 62’), Makhaula, Ndlondlo, Monyane, Ratomo, Saleng (Dlamini 77’), Dzvukamanja (Marou 85’), Erasmus (Lorch 62’).