Absa Premiership

Pirates, Polokwane in 5-goal thriller

Rhulani Mokwena (Gallo Images)
Rhulani Mokwena (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Orlando Pirates returned to winning ways in the Absa Premiership with a 3-2 win over Polokwane City at the Orlando Stadium in a game in which both teams finished with 10 men.

Charlton Mashumba had given Rise and Shine an early lead but Gabadinho Mhango, from the penalty spot, and second half strikes from substitutes Tshegofatso Mabasa and Kabelo Dlamini ensured the Buccaneers took maximum points.

Thembinkosi Lorch and Puleng Tlolane were given there marching orders by the referee in the 40th minute after they got involved in an off the ball incident that saw both players go down after some pushing and shoving.

After a rather cagey opening, it was the visitors who took the lead when Mashumba peeled away from his marker in the box to head a corner past Wayne Sandilands in the Pirates goal.

The goal seemed to wake the Soweto giants up from their slumber as they started to dominate possession and territory, however they did not create any clear-cut opportunities.

The men in white and black were given a way back into the contest when the referee awarded them dubious penalty in the 35th minute with the official adjudging that Polokwane defender Nicholas Motloung handled the ball in the box.

Gabadinho Mhango made no mistake from the spot to draw his team level.

Pirates should have taken the lead not long after equalising with Vincent Pule shooting straight at Polokwane keeper Cyril Chibwe who must be credited with an excellent save as his positioning was spot on.

Both teams were reduced to 10 men five minutes before halftime as Lorch and Tlolane saw red.

Lorch was initially fouled by Tlolane with the Polokwane player then reacting angrily to a free-kick being given and smashing the ball into the Pirates on the ground, with Lorch then retaliating to being hacked down.

A 1-1 scoreline at the break was justified but Pirates came out a different proposition after the interval and Pule again forced a good save out of Chibwe.

The Buccaneers were hunting the second goal and it came after 66 minutes as substitute Tshegofatso Mabasa hit the back of the net after Polokwane failed to clear from a corner.

Another sub from the home team, Kabelo Dlamini, then hit the cross-bar 10 minutes later but not long after the same player gave Pirates a deserved two-goal cushion with a neat finish in the penalty area after good work by Pule to provide the assist.

The hosts seemed to be cruising to a victory but Rise and Shine made sure it was a nervy finish to the game as Mpho Mvelase pulled a goal back in stoppage time with a beautiful curling shot past Sandilands.

Pirates managed to hang on for their fourth league win of the season.

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