Pirates beat Chiefs in thriller derby

2012-03-17 17:55

Soweto derby hero Benni McCarthy revealed after the game that he was “nervous” a few hours before he almost single-handedly dethroned Kaizer Chiefs today.

The 34-year-old orchestrated a 23-minute first half blitz in a game Orlando Pirates nearly gave away in the closing stages.

“I told coach Teboho (Moloi) in the morning before the game that I was nervous,” said McCarthy.

“It was the best atmosphere I have played in and probably the biggest game so far.”

Even Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic paid tribute to McCarthy, saying young players must learn from the veteran striker who is now on seven league goals.

The 2004 Uefa Champions League winning striker scored in the ninth and 20th minutes, with the other strike from Daine Klate.

But a late second half surge from a Chiefs side that was virtually in disarray for the better part of the game gave the capacity crowd one of the most exhilarating confrontations and a near-comeback between the two Soweto giants.

With this victory Pirates displaced Chiefs from second spot to keep in touch with leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, who beat Ajax Cape Town 3-0 in Cape Town.

While the victory was the confidence booster for coach Augusto Palacios needed ahead ahead of Tuesday’s clash against Sundowns, the Buccaneers gave in easily in some instances against Chiefs today.

A point in case is when they allowed Siphiwe Tshabalala to net before the half-time break.

The hosts also succumbed to the pressure that came with the introduction of Lehlohonolo Majoro, who eventually scrambled home from a defensive confusion by the Buccaneers.

Suddenly it was game on but Pirates held on.

After all, this positive result turned out to be a perfect way to lift off the gloom and controversy that had dogged the Bucs camp for the better part of the week.

This after the suspension of coach Julio Leal and a 3-0 loss to Santos on Wednesday.
Palacios said after the game that they “plan differently for each opposition”.

The Peruvian mentor dropped defender Ruben Cloete and brought back Thabo Matlaba to his natural left back slot. Matlaba’s switch saw the return of Bheki Nzunga to right-back.

In the end, this game was a sort of a performance that South African football followers had been longing for.

» In other games, Free State Stars beat Bidvest Wits 3-1 at the Bidvest Stadium; Moroka Swallows and AmaZulu played to a 1-all draw while SuperSport United and Jomo Cosmos failed to score at Peter Mokaba Stadium. Golden Arrows crushed Maritzburg United 4-1.

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