Bucs Grind Out Much-Needed Win

Orlando Pirates made a winning return to the DStv Premiership as they ground out a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sekhukhune United at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.

The result ended a four-game winless in the league for the Buccaneers, who started the week in 13th place in the standings after eight games played.

Heading into the fixture in desperate need of a victory, there was early positive intent from the hosts who were quick to adapt to the slippery underfoot conditions brought on by heavy afternoon showers.

They managed to push the visitors deep into their own half and their first real opportunity 11 minutes in when a half-hearted clearance from an Olisa Ndah shot brought the ball into the path of Patrick Maswanganyi, whose shot was deflected wide of the target.

Sekhukhune’s first chance of the game came just seconds later through a counter which stretched the Bucs defence, allowing Jamie Webber to cut back into the direction of Chibuike Ohizu, who dragged his effort well wide.

The two sides traded shots halfway through the opening period when Makgopa had a go from a long way out, sending his shot drifting wide before goalkeeper Melusi Buthelezi was forced low to keep out a long-range effort from Kamohelo Sithole.

It was the hosts who had the better of the rare chances on offer in the latter part of the half, with Ndah and Thabiso Monyane each getting a shot at goal without troubling Sekhukhune keeper Ali Sangare.

There was a lot more purpose to the Bucs approach early in the second half, as Deon Hotto managed to draw a save from the Ivorian shot-stopper with a direct free kick eight minutes after the restart.

They continued to pile the pressure on the visitors with Nkosinathi Sibisi heading narrowly wide just after the hour mark after connecting with an excellent cross from Lorch. This was quickly followed by another attempt from Monyane, who was played in on the right by Makgopa before his well-struck shot from a tight angle was parried by Sangare.

The Pirates right back had the better of the Sekhukhune gloveman 11 minutes from time following excellent interplay around the box from substitutes, Relebohile Mofokeng and Vincent Pule. This was when he was played into space on the right, only requiring one touch to send the ball crashing into the back to make it 1-0.

This prompted the Limpopo outfit into action, creating a few nervy moments for the hosts in the final 10 minutes.

However, the Soweto Giants were able to preserve their lead as they claimed all points on offer to climb four places into ninth place. 

Pirates XI: Buthelezi, Sibisi, Ndah, Monyane (Shandu 86’), Hotto, Monare, Ndlondlo (Timm 86’), Maswanganyi (Mofokeng 71’), Lorch, Kimvuidi (Otladisa 61’), Makgopa (Pule 71’).

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