Bitter moment of truth for the Bucs as Downs hit form

2009-11-26 10:32

IT was trumpeted as the moment of truth for Orlando Pirates in

their bid to make up ground on SuperSport United in the Premier League title

race.

However, it was affluent Mamelodi Sundowns who emerged closer to

the runaway log leaders after a workmanlike, professional 2-0 victory over The

Buccaneers in front of a near-capacity 30 000 crowd at the Super Stadium in

Atteridgeville on Wednesday night.

Sundowns are now perched in fourth place on the log – a distant

eight points behind defending champions SuperSport, with hapless Pirates one

point further adrift.

And it must have been comforting for big-spending Downs and their

patient, suffering supporters that they finally displayed the kind of form

expected from their array of expensive stars and controlled the game against the

becalmed, seemingly shell-shocked Buccaneers for almost the entire 90

minutes.

And rubbing salt into Pirates’ wounds was the fact that their

one-time iconic midfield general, Benedict Vilakazi, came on as a substitute for

Sundowns midway through the second half and scored the decisive second goal in

the 78th minute that effectively sealed the issue.

Sundowns, however, took a firm grip on the proceedings as early as

the ninth minute when defensive prospect Luvhengo Mungomeni forged upfield and

grabbed an opportunist headed goal, with a static Pirates defence looking

bothered and bewildered.

“This was the real Sundowns,” crowed coach Hristo Stoichkov

afterwards. “We played like true professionals and controlled the game. Now we

need only maintain this form to keep all the teams in the League on edge over

having to face us.”

Demonstrating Sundowns’ utter ascendancy was the fact that

goalkeeper Brian Baloyi must have thought he was on an extended holiday, with

Pirates never seriously threatening to score.

And while another former Pirates star, Lebohang Mokoena, also gave

his former club a good many headaches, it was Mozambique international and

former SuperSport player Elias Pelembe who regularly tore the Pirates defence to

shreds and emerged the dominant player in the game.

One shot from Pelembe crashed against the woodwork in the first

half and came within a whisker of giving Sundowns a two-goal lead before the

interval – and Moeneeb Joseph in Pirates goal was peppered with shots in front

of a defence that was regularly at sea.

“We simply never found our touch and we could not break Sundowns

grip on the proceedings,” said Pirates coach Ruud Krol. “We missed a couple of

key players, but that is no excuse. A club like Pirates is supposed to make do

with the talent at its disposal.”


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