Pirates give Downs the ultimate shakes

2010-10-17 13:07

Immediately after achieving what they failed at for a ­decade, Orlando Pirates aimed at attaining that they couldn’t do the whole of last season.

In their very next game after they won a knockout trophy – the MTN8 – for the first time since 2000, the Buccaneers hoped to attain what has eluded them in three official meetings against Sundowns in the previous campaign.

And they did.

Bucs come out of their opponents’ backyard with two goals and three deserved points, and moved closer to doing what they have failed to do in seven seasons – winning the league championship.

Yesterday’s victory, courtesy of Thulasizwe Mbuyane’s brace in the opening stanza, saw Bucs moving from seventh to fifth position on the Absa Premiership.

It did not matter that substitute Mabhuti Khenyeza netted in the last moments, forcing an anxious ending during the seven minutes that were added on amidst howls of discontent by Pirates followers.

The Buccaneers are now four points behind log leaders Sundowns, who have played a game more than the Soweto giants.

Pirates’ victory was the result of one thing – dominating the ­midfield.

The Downs’ midfield crew of ­Surprise Moriri, Matthew Pattison and Franklin Cale were choked by three men clad in black – Andile Jali, Dikgang Mabalane and Clifford Ngobeni – who dictated terms.

Sundowns failed to capitalise on a slip-up by Ajax Cape Town, who lost two points in the Cape derby on Friday.

Going into this weekend’s fixtures, Downs had a three point lead and one game advantage over Ajax.

But it was Sundowns – more than Ajax – who were left crying over the spilt points following a defeat that had the Bucs faithful celebrating incessantly.

Appearing as relieved as the 33 miners who were trapped in Chile for 69 days, the Pirates family welcomed the rare three points over a team that is owned by mining magnate Patrice Motsepe.

They had every reason to be.

In the past ten seasons, Pirates registered only six victories over the Brazilians in 24 meetings.

Downs’ victories were twice as much.

But yesterday, Mbuyane’s brace dimmed Sundowns’ bright start to the season and brought them down with a thud after they celebrated Pattison’s Player of the Month and Antonio Lopez Habas’ Coach of the Month accolades this week.

Though Pirates were without influential midfielder Isaac Chansa due to suspension, this did not show, particularly when the first goal was scored.

It was the kind of goal expected from Chansa – who has already delivered two from that range – when Mbuyane let rip with a thunderbolt from outside the penalty box in the 35th minute.

The second goal, ten minutes later, was the result of Jali’s brilliance as he waltzed through the Downs’ central defence, drifted wide and the fed Mbuyane.

The easiest of tap-ins confirmed Mbuyane’s brace.

It mattered little when Mbuyane failed to complete a hat trick after missing in a one-on-one situation with Calvin Marlin following an excellent move involving Daine Klate on the left wing.

Or when Khenyeza scrambled home in the last minutes.

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