Swallows soar over Bucs

2012-09-01 21:03

Pirates crumble under pressure from determined Birds

The hallmarks that made Orlando Pirates the invincibles of the Absa Premiership in the last two seasons are steadily fading following a second successive home loss for the two-time treble winners last night.

The Buccaneers finished unbeaten on their Soweto turf last season, but last night Moroka Swallows became the second opponent to wreck their ship after SuperSport United also banged in three goals against them to bundle Pirates out of the MTN8 Cup two weeks ago.

Whether Pirates’ Collins Mbesuma’s effort crossed the line or not is a debate for another day, but the fact is the Bucs were tactically bankrupt and the Zambian striker’s header – which Swallows goalkeeper Aubrey Mathibe smothered on the line – was just one of a string of misses.

In fact, Mathibe, who manned the goal in place of regular Greg Etafia, deservedly took home the Man of the Match award after his reflexes denied Pirates even the rarest sight at goal.

With arguably a depth in the team other local coaches can only dream of, Pirates mentor Augusto Palacios was left motionless in the dugout by a Swallows side that reached their fourth set of three goals in a match since the start of their new campaign.

Minus a suspended Benni McCarthy, the hosts started Mbesuma in the attack but he hardly complemented Thulasizwe Mbuyane; while Thabo Matlaba, played on the right wing, was ineffective when deployed on the left.

Matlaba’s misfortune was Bennett Chenene’s gain as the Swallows winger fully exploited the space.

A goal drought remains a pain for many local teams, but Birds coach Zeca Marques and his technical staff have received positive feedback from their attack, which has now produced 13 goals in five matches in all competitions.

The 34-year-old marksman was central to what had turned into the Siyabonga Nomvethe-Bennett Chenene show that ran the Bucs rearguard ragged and yielded the opening goal.

In fact, the solitary 20th-minute strike by Chenene did not back up the Birds’ frequent attacks in the opening stanza.

Chenene had ballooned his close-range effort after he fed off another Nomvethe ­through-ball.

Similarly, Pirates had their own clear-cut chance early in the game when Sifiso Myeni undid a piece of a slick move with a wasted effort with Mathibe at his mercy.

But the miss of the night was made by Daine Klate, who shot straight into Mathibe near the hour mark after he had two cracks at goal in a space of a minute.

But Swallows substitutes Mpho Maleka and Katlego Mashego hardly wasted opportunities in front of goal when they bulged the net in the short time they were on the pitch.

“Eish. No!” screamed a poster hoisted by ardent Bucs fan Jwara as Palacios and team slumped to yet another embarrassing defeat.

» Other PSL results: Free State Stars 0, Kaizer Chiefs 0; University of Pretoria 0, SuperSport United 0; AmaZulu 0, Golden Arrows 0; Bidvest Wits 2, Bloemfontein Celtic 0


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