Kaizer Chiefs continued their great form in the Absa Premiership with a thrilling 3-2 Soweto derby win over Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Amakhosi, who secured the victory thanks to a late penalty from Daniel Cardoso, finally broke a nine-game winless streak in league matches against the Buccaneers and extended their lead at the top of the table to 10 points.
The match got off to a calamitous start for Pirates, with captain Ntsikelelo Nyauza misjudging a defensive header, putting a looping ball over a helpless Wayne Sandilands and into his own net within the opening minute.
The team in white and black nearly came up with an immediate response through Fortune Makaringe, who picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and fired a shot which rebounded off goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi’s right-hand post.
Midway through the first half Chiefs had a first major chance of their own making, with Samir Nurkovic meeting a right-flank cross with a header on target, but Sandilands did well to tip the effort over the crossbar for a corner kick.
However, the ‘keeper had no chance of stopping Chiefs’ second goal, scored in the goal in the 28th minute. A George Maluleka corner kick found the leap of Leonardo Castro, whose powerful header nestled in the corner of the net – Pirates could have prevented it had they put a man protecting the near post.
Bucs appeared to be in deep trouble but on 39 minutes they pulled a goal back through a stunning strike direct from a free kick by Vincent Pule. The forward hit a fierce shot from a tight angle near the right by-line which beat Akpeyi at his near post and glanced in via the woodwork.
Chiefs led 2-1 at the break and made a change at the start of the second half, with the injured Castro making way for Dumisani Zuma (who scored a brace in midweek). Yet it was Pirates who should have drawn level just a few minutes after the restart.
Frank Mhango did great work down the left flank before providing a teasing cross to the far post which picked out the run of Thembinkosi Lorch – the forward practically had the whole goal to aim for, but only succeeded in hitting the upright with a close-range header.
Bucs were denied by the woodwork again a few minutes before the hour mark: Lorch picked out Pule with a great ball and the goal-scorer chested it down before striking a volley which the beating of Akpeyi but not the crossbar.
It seemed only a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ a second goal would arrive for Pirates, and Mhango produced a piece of magic to make it 2-2 on 59 minutes. The Malawian cut inside from the left flank and fired an unstoppable shot into the top corner – no less than the Buccaneers deserved for their dominance.
Midway through the second half Pirates needed Sandilands to make a fine double save. First he got down low to keep out a shot on goal from a free kick by Khama Billiat, and he returned to his feet quickly to keep out an effort from Erick Mathoho on the rebound.
With just under 10 minutes of regulation to play the Amakhosi were awarded a penalty, with Paseka Mako clumsily bringing down Bernard Parker. Daniel Cardoso took on the spot kick and buried it in the back of the net in the 84th minute to put Chief back in the lead.
A late scuffle saw several yellow cards and, most significantly, a red card for Mathoho. Chiefs were able to see out the match to claim victory, but they will be missing the lanky centre-back for their next domestic clash, a Telkom Knockout semifinal later in the month.
Kaizer Chiefs (2) 3 (Nyauza og 1’, Castro 28’, Cardoso 84’ pen)
Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Pule 39’, Mhango 59’)
Chiefs: Akpeyi, Frosler (Parker 72’), Mathoho, Cardoso, Sasman, Katsande, Maluleka (Ntiya-Ntiya 63’), Manyama, Castro (Zuma 46’), Billiat, Nurkovic
Pirates: Sandilands, Mabaso, Nyauza, Maela, Mako, Motshwari, Mlambo (Mulenga 87’), Makaringe (Mabasa 57’), Pule (Shonga 71’), Lorch, Mhango© Backpage TXT
SOURCED FROM THE PSL WEBSITE.