11 November, 2023
Orlando Pirates ended their league Soweto Derby hoodoo as they claimed a 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs in their DStv Premiership encounter at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
A determined effort from the Buccaneers saw them bag a narrow victory that ended their Soweto rivals’ five-game winning streak in Premiership games between the two South African football titans.
The game’s opening exchanges were marked by injury setbacks suffered by the visitors, who were forced to replace Thabiso Monyane and Kermit Erasmus inside the first 20 minutes. Bandile Shandu and Relebohile Mofokeng were introduced in the contest earlier than they would have anticipated after the two injured starters were forced off the field early.
That did not seem to upset their rhythm as they took the lead exactly at the 20-minute mark when one of the replacements, Shandu played a huge role in providing the opener as he turned an excellent ball hit from deep by Miguel Timm into the direction of Evidence Makgopa, who tapped in on the back post for his first Derby goal.
The Buccaneers did not allow complacency to set in after edging ahead, as they immediately went in search of the second.
Mofokeng almost impacted the game in the 33rd minute when he was placed one-on-one with Itumeleng Khune by Patrick Maswanganyi, but he was beaten to the punch by the experienced shot-stopper
They remained in the driver’s seat, sparking opportunities as the likes of Maswanganyi and Deon Hotto continued to torment the defence.
Pirates had to weather a surge from the hosts late in the first half, but they had enough men behind the ball to prevent any clear opportunities at goal.
It was Chiefs who had the first real chance at goal in the second half after turning over possession inside the visitors’ half. This was before the ball was worked into the direction of Pule Mmodi, whose shot from a tight angle sailed well wide.
They had their best opportunity of the game six minutes after the hour mark when Edson Castillo headed towards goal from inside the box, striking the upright with his attempt.
Pirates continued to probe at the other end without managing to get a decisive shot away, while the home side looked more assured in their attempts to draw level.
Another threatening header from Castillo could have levelled matters when he got on the end of a Zitha Kwinika cross in the 79th minute, but the Venezuelan midfielder was again off target.
The Buccaneers enjoyed a revival in the game’s closing exchanges, as Maswanganyi rushed into the box before forcing a save from Khune. This was moments before Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo sought out Vincent Pule with an inviting long ball, which evaded the attacker’s outstretched foot in front of goal by mere inches.
A wayward shot from Christian Saile proved to be the hosts’ final attempt at goal as the final whistle sounded to confirm a second successive league victory for Pirates, who enter the top half of the standings after bagging another crucial three points.
Pirates XI: Buthelezi, Xoki (Sibisi 70’), Ndah, Monyane (Shandu 7’), Hotto, Monare, Timm (Ndlondlo 70’), Maswanganyi, Lorch, Erasmus (Mofokeng 20’), Makgopa (Pule 70’).