Pirates Sink to Defeat Away to Sekhukhune

Orlando Pirates came up short on their return to DStv Premiership action as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Sekhukhune United at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.

It was the first defeat in 2024 for the Buccaneers, who slipped to fourth place in the standings after falling on the losing side for the sixth time in their ongoing league campaign.

They went into the clash looking to reclaim second spot after being pushed lower down the table courtesy of the day’s earlier league fixtures but struggled to dictate matters early on despite enjoying a good chunk of the possession.

Sekhukhune attacker Vusimuzi Ncube was the first to muster up an attempt at goal seven minutes in when he let fly from a long way out, failing to trouble Bucs keeper Sipho Chaine who watched as the ball floated well off target.

The hosts followed up with the game’s first shot on target just nine minutes later when Chaine was drawn into a low save by Jamie Webber’s firmly-struck shot from range.

The shot stopper’s opposite number Badra Ali Sangare was also called upon midway through the first half, as Relebohile Mofokeng weaved himself into space deep inside the penalty area before attempting to sneak a shot into his near post, where the Ivorian was alert to the danger.

Kabelo Dlamini was well off target with his shot from the edge of the box as the visitors began to intensify their search for the opener.

However, that would come at the opposite end just after the halfway mark when Linda Mntambo combined with Mncube who was able to find a way past Chaine, giving the hosts the lead.

The Buccaneers’ pursuit for the equaliser did not yield too many real chances at goal, save for a close-range shot by striker Tshegofatso Mabasa who was interfered with by Sydney Mobbie as he drew a save from Sangare.

The Babina Noko shot-stopper was again in the thick of the action early in the second half when he tipped Dlamini’s well-directed effort from a free-kick over the crossbar.

The contest soon turned into an uphill climb for the visitors as they found themselves trailing by two goals in the 51st minute when the hosts managed to stretch their defence, allowing Mntambo to finish from close range.

Sekhukhune were only two goals up for five minutes, with Pirates pulling one back through Mabasa as he got on the end of a lovely ball from the left delivered by Deon Hotto.

Mntambo set about attempting to restore his side’s two-goal lead just moments later with a shot that landed not too far from the target as he fired at goal from a long way out.

The tussle between Dlamini and Sangare resumed in the 63rd minute, with the Ivorian diving low to deflect the Bucs midfielder’s shot out of play. This led to a corner, which almost produced the equaliser as Mabasa’s clever flick from the near post was kept out by the defence.

Pirates continued to probe and had another close call late in the contest as Mofokeng was released down the middle, only to come second best as he went one-on-one with Sangare.

That turned out to be their best chance at drawing level, with Limpopo outfit standing firm on defence to deny the Soweto Giants the much-needed second goal, eventually clinching all three points.

Pirates XI: Chaine, Ndah, Sesane (Mthethwa 46’), Lebitso, Hotto, Timm (Kimvuidi 62’), Mbatha, Saleng (Kapinga 62’), Mofokeng (Lepasa 88’), Dlamini, Mabasa.

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