Orlando Pirates continued their dominance of Kaizer Chiefs this season in the Soweto derby with a 2-1 win at Orlando Stadium yesterday.
Bucs coach Josef Zinnbauer continues to have Gavin Hunt’s number in the derby, with a 3-0 record between the tacticians.
Hunt could not make amends for the humiliating 5-0 aggregate loss inflicted by Bucs in the MTN8 semis. Amakhosi gave a better account of themselves this time around, but the result remained the same.
Goals from Thembinkosi Lorch and Siphesihle Ndlovu were enough for Pirates, while Daniel Cardoso got the consolation goal for Chiefs.
The Soweto giants are worlds apart in how the teams have been assembled. Pirates all but bought a new team at the start of the season. Chiefs, meanwhile, have been forced to turn to the academy due to their transfer ban.
The visitors’ intentions were clear from the first whistle, with Chiefs piling on the pressure. Striker Samir Nurkovic used his powerful frame well against the opposition defence, holding the ball up for his team-mates to join the attack.
But Pirates’ no-nonsense defence of Happy Jele, Thulani Hlatshwayo and Ntsikelelo Nyauza stood firm.
Despite this, Chiefs’ speedy players on the flanks diverted dangerous balls.
Reeve Frosler and Philani Zulu’s job was to stretch the opposition back line. Pirates were hamstrung by the injury of their main strikers Zakhele Lepasa and Tshegofatso Mabasa.
Despite all Chiefs’ possession early on, it was Pirates who struck first when Lorch, who led the team as the main striker, opened the scoring in the 38th minute.
In a game of this magnitude, it is not only the players and the coaches who are under the microscope, but match officials too.
In the past few weeks, referees have been sanctioned by Safa for poor officiating. The referee on the day, Luxolo Badi, had his hands full in the exhilarating encounter and did well considering the pressure.
Badi rightfully handed Chiefs a penalty after Ben Motshwari fouled Happy Mashiane in the box.
However, goalkeeper Richard Ofori saved the powerful penalty from Nurkovic in the 54th minute, but it was defender Siyabonga Ngezana’s miss of the rebound that shocked onlookers. The miss showed how Nurkovic has had to carry the team and his team-mates.
Moments later – in the 68th minute – it was Pirates’ turn for a penalty shout, but the referee was having none of it.
This left Pirates players fuming after Njabulo Blom fouled Vincent Pule inside the box.
For their dissent, Lorch, Motshwari and Thabang Monare were yellow-carded.
Pirates continued their dominance in the second half. In the 80th minute, Paseka Mako’s cross found Ndlovu, who scored the second goal to put the game beyond Chief’s reach.
Overall, the Buccaneers showed that they had more experience and were better assembled than their archrivals.
Although Chiefs pulled a goal back via a Cardoso header in the 85th minute, it was Pirates who prevailed to claim the bragging rights in the Soweto derby.