Pirates sink hapless Ajax

2014-10-26 05:00

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Orlando Pirates won a sliding contest in their own backyard, which turned into a rain-soaked swimming pool last night.

On a wet and slippery pitch, which made for a fun sliding match, Pirates mastered the conditions as they stormed to the semifinal of the Telkom Knockout, their sixth successive appearance in the last four of all the competitions they took part in since last year.

The puddles of water across the pitch made play impossible as players fell all over the place, but the match officials felt there was no need to call off the game.

On the night when Ajax players were expected to excel in conditions similar to what they are used to in Cape Town, they failed to come to the party.

Instead, it was Pirates who mastered the pitch and used it to their advantage.

The game was over as a contest in the opening 45 minutes as Pirates took a 2-0 lead into the break after twice exploiting Ajax’s frailties of failing to defend set pieces.

Two Khethokwakhe Masuku corners were met by defenders Happy Jele and Siyabonga Sangweni in the 33rd and 45th minutes, respectively, to give Pirates a good cushion going into the break.

Lehlohonolo Majoro added the third a few minutes after the break to deflate the visitors.

Although they did pull one back from the penalty spot through Thabiso Nkoana’s 54th- minute conversion, the damage had already been done.

Even Oupa Manyisa had a chance to hammer in the final nail which was put through by Kermit Erasmus in the 75th minute.

Roger De Sa will not be happy with the way his team conceded the first two goals, as was the case against Kaizer Chiefs last weekend.

De Sa will have to work on this aspect of the game if his team is to stake a serious claim to the league title.

Ironically, this has been Pirates’ Achilles heel in recent matches.

But last night they got it right – perhaps it had to do with the two defensive changes coach Vladimir Vermezovic made to the line-up.

“VV” restored Jele and Rooi Mahamutsa to the starting line-up at the expense of Ntshikelelo Nyauza and Ayanda Gcaba.

This was a good showing by Pirates ahead of Saturday’s Soweto derby and if anything, it will go a long way towards boosting their morale.

Pirates joined Pretoria sides – SuperSport United and Mamelodi Sundowns – in the semifinals. This after both teams won 2-1 over Bidvest Wits and AmaZulu, respectively.

The big question is: will they be all-Gauteng semifinals as Chiefs host defending champions Platinum Stars at FNB Stadium this afternoon.

Chiefs have already beaten Stars three times this season, twice in the MTN8 semifinals and once in the league.

The draw of the last four will be made immediately after the Chiefs game.

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