Orlando Pirates underlined their Absa Premiership title credentials as they defeated SuperSport United 3-1 at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday night.
The Buccaneer needed a late surge to claim all three points, with the result pushing them up to third on the table on 10 points. Matsatsantsa drop to fourth on nine points.
Pirates drew first blood as early as the 15th minute, as a sweeping move put Augustine Mulenga in space down the left flank and his perfectly-placed cross was finished with a cushioned header by Vincent Pule.
SuperSport coach Kaitano Tembo was clearly unhappy with his side’s showing and made a tactical change within the opening half hour, replacing Thuso Phala with Fagrie Lakay.
The Tshwane side soon began to create scoring chances and striker Bradley Grobler drew Pirates goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane into an excellent save in the 36th minute with a fine header on target.
Matsatsantsa ended the first half on top in terms of momentum, but it was the Buccaneers who held the advantage on the score line.
The team in blue continued to look the stronger attacking force in the second stanza, but they had to wait until the 69th minute to draw level. Aubrey Modiba was the creator, twisting and turning on the left edge of the box before playing a teasing cross which was stabbed home at the far post by Bongani Khumalo.
Bucs responded by sending on Justin Shonga and Thembinkosi Lorch in attack and their aggression soon paid dividends: Xola Mlambo created space for Lorch on the edge of the box with some crafty play and the substitute beat Ronwen Williams at his near post with a powerful low drive to make it 2-1 in the 82nd minute.
Five minutes later the hosts extended their advantage to 3-1, with Mulenga providing a low cross for Ben Motshwari – his initial effort was saved by Williams, but the ball rebounded kindly for the midfielder to force it home at the second attempt.
Pirates will return to Premiership action on Wednesday, September 19 when they host Cape Town City, while United’s next match sees them at home to Black Leopards on Sunday, September 23.
Orlando Pirates 3
Pule 15’, Lorch 82’, Motshwari 87’
SuperSport United 1
Pirates: Mpontshane, Matlaba (Shonga 76’), Jele, Nyauza, Maema, Mako (Thopola 65’), Mlambo, Motshwari, Pule, Mntambo (Lorch 76’), Mulenga
SuperSport: Williams, Kekana, Khumalo, Daniels, Modiba, Phala (Lakay 29’), Furman, Letsholonyane, Mokoena (Keene 68’), Rusike, Grobler (Lungu 86’)