Pirates’ revenge

Tussle: Tiyani Mabunda of Mamelodi Sundowns slide tackles Justin Shonga of Orlando Pirates in yesterday’s Absa Premiership match at Loftus Stadium. Picture: Themba Makofane
Tussle: Tiyani Mabunda of Mamelodi Sundowns slide tackles Justin Shonga of Orlando Pirates in yesterday’s Absa Premiership match at Loftus Stadium. Picture: Themba Makofane

The Bucs have finally ended their losing streak against Sundowns.

It was a case of the same scoreline but different winners as Pirates registered their first win in eight matches over Sundowns. In the first round in November, Sundowns beat them by the same score.

There could have been no better advert for South African football than what was witnessed here yesterday.

When these two teams meet, fireworks are expected – and this was no different as the game lived up to its pre-billing expectations with end-to-end stuff dished out by both sides. This was Absa Premiership at its best.

For Pirates, the new year means new beginnings after registering their second successive victory – convincingly so. Pirates started this year on a high note, scoring six goals in two games and slowly climbing up the Absa Premiership ladder. Last weekend, they beat Baroka by the same scoreline and this has revived their title challenge.

After struggling for the better part of the opening half of the season, the Sea Robbers have come back strongly in the second half and, at this rate, the future looks promising. The Happy People are back!

As for Sundowns, this defeat – their third in four games – means their challenge for the league honours takes a huge knock, although there is still a long way to go. They still remain top of the log – barely.

They will need to be more clinical in front of goals if they are to be serious contenders and walk away with the title at the end of the season.

What an entertaining opening half we had at Loftus. Not many would have bet on three goals being scored in the first half of this game, but this was the case when Pirates surprised everybody – even themselves – by going to the break leading with a score of 2-1.

The Buccaneers had the best start to the game after taking the lead as early as the third minute through Ntsikelelo Nyauza, who was making his comeback after suffering an ankle injury in the last game of the year against Free State Stars. The last time he was on the score sheet for Pirates, he was cancelling his own goal against AmaZulu.

Pirates increased their lead through Mpho Makola, who returned to the team after missing the win over Baroka FC last weekend. Makola benefited from a Motjeka Madisha mistake at the back and capitalised when he beat Denis Onyango with a low shot.

But the game was far from over. Sundowns were determined not to let Pirates walk away with the game when they pulled one back through the hard-working Percy Tau.

The second half followed the same pattern. Both sides were determined to keep attacking, but squandered a few scoring chances in the process.

Pirates finished on top after Luvuyo Memela, who had earlier missed with only Onyango to beat, made up for it when he found the back of the net. In so doing, Pirates avenged their first round defeat at Orlando Stadium – by the same margin. And the revenge was so sweet!

Percy Tau ‘38

Ntsikelelo Nyauza ‘3; Mpho Makola ’18; Luvuyo Memela ‘83

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