Bucs ride the crest

2009-09-24 12:12

ORLANDO Pirates’ amazing start to the Absa Premiership season

continued at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night where they maintained their

unbeaten record at the top of the league with a 1-0 win over Platinum

Stars.

The Buccaneers and goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs have now completed

their first seven league matches without conceding a goal.

And Stars never looked like damaging that record. Josephs who

injured his finger in the 1-0 win at home over Mpumalanga Black Aces last

Wednesday but was fit to play, was not tested by the powder-puff Stars

attack.

Bucs head the standings with 17 points, followed by BidVest Wits

and Bloemfontein Celtic with 13 points. Wits, who play Bucs at the same venue on

Saturday night, defeated Moroka Swallows 2-0 while Celtic edged out Kaizer

Chiefs 1-0 in their Wednesday matches to remain the only three unbeaten sides

left in the league.

Pirates took the initiative from the kick-off and more than

deserved their 1-0 lead at the interval.

Bucs, roared on by the partisan 22 000 crowd, were unlucky not to

have taken the lead in the 24th minute when striker Siphelele Mthembu headed a

Kamwendo free kick against the Stars post.

Pirates came close again in the 31st minute to breaking the

deadlock when Teko Modise sent star winger Dikgang Mabalane free on the left

flank. Mabalane left the Stars defenders in his wake and laid on a superb cross

for Mthembu who missed from less than six metres.

Mabalane’s pace left the Stars defence for dead in the busy opening

period. Hopefully under fire Bafana Bafana coach Joel Santana was doing his

homework and watched Mabalane who has done more than enough to warrant a call-up

to the national squad. But Santana is in a habit of picking certain players who

sit on their club’s bench for his squad these days.

Defender Lucas Thwala gave the home side the lead after 32 minutes

when the over-worked Stars defence failed to clear a Kamwendo cross which the

wide awake Thwala latched onto and beat Stars ’keeper Wayne Sandilands with a

fine strike.

The second half deteriorated into a scrappy affair. Stars Almiro

Lobo headed over the Bucs upright after a Thabiso Monareng free-kick floated

over the Pirates defence in the 54th minute.

Stars rarely threatened Josephs record. Substitute Bradley Grobler

was wide when he collected a poor clearance in the 69th minute.

Bucs were on top but never under any pressure. Bucs substitute

Terror Fanteni’s goal-bound shot in the referee’s optional time was deflected

for a corner as the home side tried to sew up the win late in the match.

But the second half became a big yawn with the best moment coming

when referee Harry Lekitlane mercifully blew for fulltime.


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