30 May, 2022
Orlando Pirates finished their 2021/22 DStv Premiership campaign on a losing note, succumbing to a 2-0 defeat away to SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Monday night.
The result, which closed off the current season, kept up with the recent trend between the two sides, as the visiting side was denied victory for the 16th league encounter running, with the Buccaneers denied a league double after registering victory in the reverse clash played at Orlando Stadium.
It was the visitors who were the more dominant side in terms of ball possession early on in the contest, controlling proceedings, but without making the necessary inroads. This continued well into the opening quarter of the first half, with Pirates’ attempts at entering the final third halted by an expectant defensive line, which committed the necessary numbers at the back to stop their surges into the penalty area.
The breakthrough came 20 minutes into the encounter, and it was an unfortunate moment for Bucs midfielder Fortune Makaringe, whose attempt at clearing from a corner directed the ball into his own net, placing the home side ahead on the scoresheet.
Pirates looked to draw back level, with Lorch’s shot from just inside the box directed out of play a minute after the opener.
United attempted to go two-up through Talenthe Mbatha, who collected a rebound from an attempted clearance off the head of Happy Jele before forcing a brilliant save off Richard Ofori in the 33rd minute.
Pirates’ best shot at goal in the first half came when Thembinkosi Lorch’s searching ball into the penalty area arrived a split-second too early for Deon Hotto, who could not turn the ball into the net with a sliding effort.
It continued to be a fruitless evening in front of goal for the visitors, who met a resolute wall in defence from the men in blue.
Things went from bad to worse when they were reduced to ten men, with Captain Happy Jele given his marching orders after a clash with Thamsanqa Gabuza inside the Pirates penalty area 66 minutes in.
Gamphani Lungu had to have two bites at the cherry from the penalty spot, as he was initially denied by Ofori, but made no mistake in making amends when the referee ordered a retake after ruling that the Ghanaian shot-stopper had infringed in the stopping the spot-kick.
Kwame Peprah got close in the 75th minute, rising high to head towards goal from a cross delivered into the box, but directed his effort wide.
Thapelo Maseko forced a fine save off Ofori five minutes later, and the Buccaneers’ late efforts were not enough to inspire a comeback, with the defeat condemning them to a fifth-place finish in the standings.
Pirates XI: Ofori, Nyauza, Jele, Ndah, Shandu, Mosele, Makaringe (Dzvukamanja 62’), Dlamini (Makhubela 70’), Lorch, Hotto, Peprah (Mabasa 80’).