1 July, 2022
Orlando Pirates Under-19 gave themselves a handy lifeline in the Engen Knockout Challenge by bouncing back from their earlier defeat to defeat JDR Stars Academy 2-0 at Marks Park Sports Club on Friday.
It was a do-or-die encounter for both sides involved, with the Pretoria outfit also reeling from defeat in the opening round of fixtures.
Early intent was evident in the Pirates camp, as they got close through Nhlanhla Vilakazi, who's searching ball across the face of goal was gathered by the defence amid an approaching sea of black jerseys.
The Buccaneers did not release the pressure on their opponents, and thought they had taken the lead in the ninth minute when Mohau Nkota got the ball into the back of the net, only for his celebrations to be cut short by the offside flag.
Their patience eventually told in the 19th minute, with the breakthrough handed to them on a silver platter when miscommunication at the back allowed Mehluleli Maphumulo to pounce on a loose ball for an easy goal.
Pirates’ dominance continued into the second half, where they sought to stretch the lead as the forward pair of Maphumulo and Nkota remained a thorn in the defenders’ flesh.
Looking to add to his earlier goal, Maphumulo made a brilliant run down the right before forcing a save from point-blank range, while his partner up front was not shy of letting loose from a distance, sending a shot just wide as the clock wound down.
Stars did have a rare opportunity, but were thwarted by some excellent defensive work from the Bucs Juniors.
The second goal would emerge just two minutes from the full-time whistle, with Maphumulo’s persistence paying off as he calmly slotted past the keeper to complete a deserved brace.
The result handed Pirates U19 a shot at qualifying for the knockout rounds, with the outcome of tomorrow morning’s game against the Soweto United Stars set to decide their fate.
© 2017 - 2023 Copyright Orlando Pirates. Designed & Developed by Agent Orange Design