Pirates move into second place
Posted: 4 March 2009 Time: 22:37
Orlando Pirates claimed a momentous victory over Mamelodi Sundowns at Coca-Cola Park on Wednesday night, winning 2-0 thanks to goals either side of the break.
The Buccaneers knew before kick-off that if they managed to beat the Brazilians in front of their home fans, they would leap-frog them on the table into second place. All was on the line and both teams were prepared to lay it all on the line for a vital three points.
Sundowns started the better of the two teams, with Kurt Lentjies having a great opportunity to open the scoring in the second minute when a beautiful cross from the left found him unmarked at the back-post, but his shot was woeful, missing the target completely from only a couple of yards out.
From there on out Pirates took control and showed why they have the best defensive record in the League as they cut out all roots to their goal, clearly frustrating the Brazilians’ attack. What was more reassuring for the Sea Robbers fans was how Moeneeb Josephs controlled his area, taking charge and collecting teasing crosses.
Dikgang Mabalane was Sundowns’ biggest worry as he attacked with speed and venom down the right flank, but he failed to produce any real danger with his crosses into the box.
Finally, after all their pressure, a well-worked free-kick on the left resulted in the game’s opening goal for Pirates in the 24th minute. Teko Modise cleverly snuck a pass to the edge of the 18-yard area, where Katlego Mashego met it with a ferocious swing of his left boot, giving Calvin Marlin no chance.
The second half was more of the same as the game moved from end to end at a frantic pace. Due to the speed of the game, tackles were going to be mistimed, but Bucs paid the ultimate price when Lucky Lekgwathi was sent off in the 60th minute for a second bookable offence.
Reduced to 10 men, Pirates tried to defend their lead as the Brazilians applied a mountain of pressure. Due to the nature of the game and the fact that Sundowns were on all-out, attack it was inevitable that they would be caught on the counter.
That is exactly what happened when Modise broke down the left in the 62nd minute and found himself one-on-one with Marlin. The Bafana midfielder was calm under pressure as he easily slotted the ball home.
Mlungisi Gumbi came on for Pirates in the 80th minute as they shut-up shop at the back and held onto their 2-0 lead to claim a vital three points that puts them six points behind SuperSport United with a game in hand.