9 December, 2023
Orlando Pirates bagged a second successive victory in the DStv Premiership as they beat TS Galaxy 1-0 at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
It’s a sixth league victory in the 2023/24 campaign for the Buccaneers, who staved off the challenge of a determined Galaxy outfit in an eventful evening in Soweto.
Heading into the fixture with the same XI that started the two previous fixtures, the Soweto Giants were up against a Galaxy outfit that had retained nine of the players that took to the field on the successful cup outing over the past weekend.
Pirates were caught on their heels twice in the opening 10 minutes, with goalkeeper Melusi Buthelezi called upon to make an excellent double save to deny his former side after Sphiwe Mahlangu and Lehlohonolo Mojela each had a shot at goal. This was followed by another opportunity for the Mpumalanga outfit when Mahlangu managed to slip past the Bucs shot-stopper before being denied by a goal-saving intervention from Fortune Makaringe, who got a crucial touch on the ball to direct it into safety.
Pirates were dealt a blow in the first quarter when the influential Vincent Pule was forced off the field following a collision to be replaced by Karim Kimvuidi.
They managed their first real opportunity at the 25-minute mark when they were awarded a free kick a few paces out from the penalty area.
Set piece duties were handed to the experienced Deon Hotto who produced a stunner as his shot kept low, fizzing past the wall and leaving Galaxy goalkeeper Vasilije Kolak cemented to his spot as the ball ended up in the back of the net.
Two more chances fell to the Buccaneers inside the first period with Relebohile Mofokeng and Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo each managing to draw excellent saves from the Bosnian keeper.
The start of the second half did not serve up nearly as many chances on both ends, despite what continued to be a fast-paced contest.
The Rockets could have equalised in the 74th minute when they were awarded a free kick, taken by midfielder Higor Vidal, whose ball into the box was directed wide by Pogiso Sanoka.
They had another opportunity attacking through the wings, but a dangerous-looking cross from Mahlangu was kept out by Tapelo Xoki.
For the Buccaneers, the latter part of the contest was characterised by frequent surges into opposition territory, where they managed to stretch the defence without finding the decisive touch.
Kabelo Dlamini had a shot blocked in the game’s dying stages after being played on by Lepasa, who in turn spurned a chance from close range as he attempted to finish off a move he sparked from the left flank.
Galaxy’s last chance to draw level fell to Sanoka, whose header met a vital deflection inside the box which directed it wide, and that proved to be the final shot at goal as Pirates clinched another victory to climb to continue their ascent up the standings.
Pirates XI: Buthelezi, Xoki, Ndah, Hotto, Timm, Ndlondlo (Baloni 86’), Maswanganyi, Pule (Kimvuidi 20’, Otladisa 86’), Makaringe, Mofokeng (Dlamini 65’), Makgopa (Lepasa 65’).