Cape Town - Thabo
Matlaba and Sifiso Myeni scored second half goals as Orlando Pirates defeated
University of Pretoria 2-0 in an Absa Premiership match at Orlando Stadium on
The Buccaneers were in danger of being joined on the same points tally by AmaTuks in a match somewhat cheekily dubbed a ‘relegation six-pointer’ in the build-up, but the victory sees them move into the top 10 of the standings while the Pretoria side remains second from bottom.
Pirates created a couple of early chances for Kermit Erasmus and Issa Sarr – neither of which they were able to capitalise on – but the first clear opportunity went the way of former Bucs player Lennox Bacela, who shot straight at Brighton Mhlongo after cutting inside from the left.
Midway through the first half the Soweto side almost claimed the lead through Erasmus, who arrived the near post to turn a cross on target but was denied by a sharp reaction save from goalkeeper Washington Arubi.
Just a minute later Pirates needed Mhlongo to make an excellent double save, denying Bacela and Thabo Mnyamane in quick succession, while on 35 minutes the young ‘keeper again saved his team by touching the latter attacker’s long-range shot onto the post.
Tuks’ missed opportunities in the first half came back to haunt them early in the second, with Thabo Matlaba breaking the deadlock in the 47th minute to put Bucs 1-0 up. The overlapping left-back ran onto a perfectly-weighted pass from Erasmus and fired the ball into the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar, giving Arubi no chance of making a save.
The goal gave Pirates the confidence to go on and dominate the game, but they spurned several good opportunities to add to their advantage, with the best seeing Erasmus fluff a shot at close range after he had been well picked out from the by-line by Thabo Rakhale in the 67th minute.
The hosts finally wrapped up the game in the 85th minute when Sifiso Myeni arrived late in the box to fire home a loose ball after Tuks’ defence failed to clear a dangerous cross from another overlap by Matlaba.