Pirates bounce back from Confed disappointment to thrash Maritzburg and keep top 3 hopes alive

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Thembinkosi Lorch (Gallo Images)
Thembinkosi Lorch (Gallo Images)

Orlando Pirates kept up their pursuit for CAF Champions League qualification with a 4-1 victory over Maritzburg United at the Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.

The Buccaneers need to win all three of their remaining games in the league campaign to ensure they finish second behind champions Mamelodi Sundowns, and they did the business against the Team of Choice.

Pirates came into the contest following the heartbreak of losing the CAF Confederation Cup final on penalties against RBS Berkane in Nigeria on Friday.

The Soweto giants didn't show any after-effects of the defeat in the continental final, with goals by Thembinkosi Lorch, Kwame Peprah, Deon Hotto and Kabelo Dlamini giving them a comfortable victory.

Having hit the post with a long-range attempt earlier in the game, Lorch gave the hosts the lead in the 21st minute when he found himself clear on goal and picked his spot into the back of the net.

The Buccaneers doubled their lead three minutes before the halftime break when Ghanaian forward Peprah scored from close-range following a Lorch cut-back.

Maritzburg had little but pride to play for in their final match of the season, as they had already secured their league status with a win against Baroka on Saturday.

Visiting coach Ernst Middendorp gave a few fringe players a run-out in the second half, with the German mentor making as many as five substitutions at the halftime break.

It led to a disjointed start to the second stanza from the Team of Choice as Pirates extended their lead to 3-0 on the hour mark when Lorch crossed to Hotto, who beat the offside trap and buried his opportunity.

The visitors pulled a goal through Friday Samu in the 63rd minute, but Kabelo Dlamini restored the Buccaneers' three-goal lead in the 69th minute to wrap up a good victory.

Pirates now face a crucial fixture away to Royal AM on Friday before finishing their campaign against SuperSport United the following Monday.

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