Football

PIRATES SNEAK A WIN OVER SEKHUKHUNE

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – APRIL 06: Paseka Mako of Orlando Pirates challenged by Kamohelo Sithole of Sekhukhune United during the DStv Premiership match between Sekhukhune United and Orlando Pirates at Emirates Airline Park on April 06, 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gavin Barker/BackpagePix/Gallo Images)

Orlando Pirates claimed a narrow 1-0 away win over Sekhukhune United in a DStv Premiership clash at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Wednesday evening.

Fortune Makaringe struck with just eight minutes of regulation time left to play to see the Buccaneers pick up a second successive league win and keep themselves in the fight to finish second – they are five points adrift of current runners-up Stellenbosch FC.

Babina Noko, meanwhile, have gone five league matches without victory and find themselves down in 10th place – one point off a spot in the top half of the table.

The match settled into an early pattern of Pirates dominating possession but struggling to find a way through Sekhukhune’s deep-lying defence, with the hosts looking to strike on the counter attack whenever a Bucs passing move went awry.

It was Babina Noko who had the first shots in anger, though both Yusuf Maart and Kamohelo Sithole were way off target with their long-range efforts inside the opening 20 minutes.

Sekhukhune began to come out of their shell around the midway point of the first half, committing more men forward and probing the Pirates defence – though goalkeeper Richard Ofori was left untested.

The Buccaneers also struggled to put together any attacks of substance, with striker Kwame Peprah left isolated and unserviced. The likes of Maart, Edwin Gyimah and Sibusiso Mbonani did great work to ensure the hosts gave their opponents no space in the final third.

The first 45 minutes ended goalless – with nether side having managed a shot on target – while the second half opened with Sekhukhune making a double change, as they swapped out Vusumuzi Mncube and Nthabang Kobela for Chibuike Ohizu and Tshediso Patjie.

The attacks continued to flounder until just after the mark when Pirates were rewarded a penalty, as Sekhukhune’s Edwin Gyimah was guilty of a clumsy foul to bring down Siphesihle Ndlovu.

Deon Hotto stepped up to take the spot kick, but his low shot was well saved by goalkeeper Ayanda Dlamini diving to his left.

However, Dlamini was ultimately at fault for Bucs breaking the deadlock in the 82nd minute: the goalkeeper’s poor clearance fell straight to Thembinkosi Lorch, who feed Tshegofatso Mabasa and the striker teed up Fortune Makaringe to strike home a shot from the ‘D’ of the penalty area.

Sekhukhune looked for an equaliser in what remained of the game and substitute Chibuike Ohizu missed their best chance deep in injury time, dragging a shot wide of the mark from the edge of the penalty area.

Pirates will return to DStv Premiership action next midweek, Tuesday 12 April, with a clash away to Baroka FC, while Sekhukhune’s next league fixture is at home to TS Galaxy on Saturday 16 April.

Sekhukhune United 0Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Makaringe 82’)TEAMS:

Sekhukhune United:Dlamini, Mahlangu, Mbonani, Gyimah, Kabwe, Maart, Leepile, Kobela (Patjie 46’ [Madonsela 89’]), Sithole, Mncube (Ohizu 46’), Shonga (Rusike 69’)

Orlando Pirates:Ofori, Shandu (Jooste 68’), Jele, Nyauza, Mako, Monare, Mosele, Ndlovu (Lorch 77’), Dlamini (Makaringe 78’), Hotto (Sam 78’), Peprah (Mabasa 68’)

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