Bucs Reserves Earn Hard-Fought Win Over City

Orlando Pirates Reserves clinched another win on home turf as they beat Cape Town City 3-2 at Rand Stadium on Sunday.

In their final home game of the 2023/24 DStv Diski Challenge season, the Buccaneers made it three wins in as many weeks as they continued to seek a strong finish to their campaign.

It was a fiercely contested affair that kicked off with an intense midfield battle as neither side could conjure up any real opportunities throughout the first 10 minutes.

The hosts’ intense press nearly yielded the breakthrough just 13 minutes in when midfielder Tebogo Masemola managed to turn possession over just outside City’s penalty area before grazing the outer part of the upright with his shot at goal.

Striker Mehluleli Maphumulo followed this up with a close shout of his own three minutes later as he struck the crossbar with a header from close range following a Bucs set piece.

Another turnover inside the visitors’ territory provided another chance in the 30th minute but Cemran Dansin’s first time shot from range was kept out by goalkeeper Luca Diana-Oliaro.

Bucs keeper Khumoetsile Rathokolo made an excellent stop on the edge of his box to foil a City counter attack moments later, but his opposite number was the busier of the two men between the sticks as he was soon called upon once more to deny Simphiwe Masilela.

With halftime approaching, the hosts eventually found the breakthrough and it came through a spectacular effort from Masemola, who was teed up by Masilela before curling the ball into the top corner from a long way out.

The diminutive midfielder could have bagged his second of the day straight from the second-half kick-off when he got a shot away from inside the box only to be denied by Diana-Oliaro.

It was however the visitors who would enjoy a perfect start to the second period as they drew level in the 49th minutes following some sustained pressure on the Bucs defence.

Maphumulo had a couple of opportunities to restore the Buccaneers’ lead, but was unable to find the target on each occasion, while Rathokolo was kept busy at the other end with City looking to edge ahead.

Pirates’ persistence paid off in the 73rd minute as they took the lead following a lovely team goal initiated by Jabulani Mokone when he won possession inside his own half before the ball was worked towards Tshepo Mhlambi who went on an excellent run before setting up a tap-in for Masemola to bag his brace.

Looking to hit back, City squandered an opportunity with a misdirected effort from a free kick right in front of the Buccaneers goal with eight minutes left on the clock, and were denied by Rathokolo seconds later as the shot-stopper pulled off another excellent stop to help preserve the lead.

The home side controlled possession in the game’s dying moments, and were able to pull further ahead when replacement forward Ciniso Mazibuko located Maphumulo, who slotted past Diana-Oliaro to make it 3-1.

City pulled one back deep inside injury time, but it proved to be mere consolation as the Bucs Reserves bagged another three points.

Pirates Reserves XI: Rathokolo, Magugwana, Mbokazi, Mokone, Mhlambi, Selepe, Dansin, Mohlala, Masemola (Nzimande 82’), Masilela (Mazibuko 63’), Maphumulo.

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