Pirates keep title hopes alive
Posted: 24 January 2009 Time: 17:31
Orlando Pirates moved up to third on the Absa Premiership standings when they defeated BidVest Wits 2-0 away from home on Saturday afternoon.
Goals from Benson Mhlongo and Katlego Mashego secured victory for the Buccaneers and saw the Clever Boys' recent winless streak continue.
In match where two players were sent off, the visitors showed more control and nous to secure three crucial points that keeps them in the running for the Absa Premiership title.
Pirates dominated the first half, but it was the hosts who had the first opportunity to open the scoring. Fabricio Rodrigues forced goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs into a fine parrying save in the fifth minute from a free kick some 25 yards from goal.
The Buccaneers' Siphelele Mthembu should have put his side a goal ahead midway through the first half, but he somehow put his effort wide of goal from just six yards out.
The visitors finally came good on their dominance of possession just before half time. Teko Modise worked some space wide on the left flank before picking out Mhlongo with an in-swinging cross, and the midfielder duly beat Darren Keet with a well-placed header.
The first 20 minutes of the second passed with little action of note, but in the 65th Wits substitute Marawaan Bantam was denied an equalising goal by a superb save from Josephs.
Four minutes later Katlego Mashego could have made it 2-0, but his 20-yard shot was brilliantly turned behind for a corner kick by Keet.
The Clever Boys' hopes of coming back into the game were dealt a major blow in the 72nd minute when defender Ashraf Hendricks picked up his second yellow card of the game and was sent for an early shower.
Pirates made their numerical advantage count when Mashego capitalised on some space in the hosts' penalty area and fired home the Buccaneers' second goal, securing an important victory.
The visitors' win was soured slightly by a late red card for defender Lucas Thwala, who picked up a second yellow card in injury time.
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