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Jo'burg Stadium
20/02/2008 20:00

Pirates get birthday wish

Posted: 21 February 2008 Time: 09:25

Orlando Pirates celebrated their 70th anniversary with a handsome 3-1 victory Absa Premiership over Mamelodi Sundowns at the Johannesburg Stadium on Wednesday night.

But as much as the result is a great birthday present for the Buccaneers, it also leaves them well in the title race, five pints behind Ajax Cape Town, but almost certainly kills off the chances of reigning champions Sundowns retaining their crown, with the Brazilians now 15 points off the pace.

In a match that was not dirty in nature, but still garnered eight yellow cards for various misdemeanors, the goals were scored by Bennett Chenene, Excellent Walaza and Gilbert Mushangazhike for Pirates, with the Sundowns consolation coming through Peter Ndlovu.

Benson Mhlongo thundered the ball against his own crossbar from what should have been a routine clearance and Chenene was on hand to head home the rebound passed the helpless Brian Baloyi in the eighth minute.

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And just three minutes later Chenene turned provider as his cross from the left was headed home by Walaza with the easiest of finishes to make it 2-0.

Walaza was then rightly yellow-carded by referee Daniel Bennett for diving in the penalty area as the game became tighter in midfield.

Surprise Moriri shot wide five minutes before halftime, but Sundowns were back in the game with just seconds remaining in the half as a poor clearance by Happy Jele saw Fanyana Dhladhla hit the post and Ndlovu react quickest to knock the rebound home.

The Sundowns players were appealing for a penalty just minutes into the second half when Ndlovu appeared to be upended by Meyiwa, but Bennett instead opted to give him a yellow card for simulation too.

And Pirates regained their two-goal lead on 54 minutes after more hesitant defending from Downs. Chenene’s corner was missed by three Brazilian defenders and eventually found its way to Mushangazhike off Tonic Chabalala, and the striker rifled home a left-footed shot.

Sundowns fans got a first glimpse of new Uruguayan striker Bryan Aldave as he came on for the final 15 minutes, replacing Ndlovu, but despite some neat touches, he did not see enough of the ball to make a lasting impression.

Walaza should have put the icing on the cake for Pirates with seven minutes to go when he found acres of space in the Downs box, but goalkeeper Brian Baloyi pulled off a good save with his feet.

And the Buccaneers fans got their birthday wish with a resounding win that showed their qualities as genuine title contenders in the second half of the season.

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