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Royal Bafokeng Stadium
22/02/2012 19:30

Pirates up to fourth

Posted: 22 February 2012 Time: 21:26

Three goals in the second half – scored by Siyabonga Sangweni, Tokelo Rantie and Benni McCarthy – saw Orlando Pirates come from a goal behind to beat Platinum Stars 4-3 Wednesday night.

Pirates first goal on the night, which gave them the lead, was an own-goal from Enocent Mkhabela. Platinum Stars found the back of the net through Sibusiso Msomi, Mduduzi Nyanda and Lucas Thwala.

It was an enticing opening 45 minutes as both sides looked to attack from the first whistle, which resulted in a quick start.

In only the fourth minute, some good work down the left flank by Dikgang Mabalane resulting in him beating his marker before supplying a low cross into the box, which was spilled by Siyabonga Mpontshane, straight into the path of Isaac Chansa, but he fired over from six-yards out with an empty net at his mercy.

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Three minutes later Stars were gifted a scoring opportunity because of some sloppy defending by the Buccaneers.

A cross from the left by Elias Ngwepe found an open Nyanda who was allowed to get a shot on goal from six yards, but Moeneeb Josephs made a great close range save, diving to his right to palm the ball away from danger.

After the frantic start the game settled down, as both teams tried to take control of the midfield.

Stars were beginning to gain the ascendancy, with Thuso Phala and Lindokuhle Mbatha causing problems for the Pirates defence on the flanks.

In a great counter-attacking move, Phala played Ngwepe into space down the left. The Stars defender drove towards the by-line and produced a pin-point low cut-back to find an unmarked Nyanda 12 yards out from goal.

Nyanda tried to side-foot the ball home, but Josephs made a great save.

The rebound then fell to Ngwepe on the left and again he crossed the ball to the back post to find an unmarked Mbatha, but he too saw his 10-yard shot acrobatically saved by the Buccaneers shot-stopper.

Two minutes later and Stars were made to pay for their glaring misses as Mkhabela headed home an own-goal to give Pirates the lead while trying to defend a corner-kick, to make it 1-0.

The home side quickly hit back, finding the equalising goal in the 35th minute.

A scramble in the Pirates box resulted in Henrico Botes laying the ball back for an unmarked Msomi, who expertly fired the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from 22-yards out.

The half ended 1-1 and both sides looked happy to hear the half-time whistle of this fast paced game.

At the start of the second half the Buccaneers began to take control of the match as Stars looked content to sit back in defence and hit on the counter-attack, although Pirates could not break down a resolute Dikwena defence.

Then in the 68th minute, somewhat against the run of play, the home side took the lead.

Nyanda picked up the ball on the edge of the box and took on Bheki Nzunga, beating the Pirates defender for pace before firing the ball across the face of goal and into the bottom right-hand corner of the net from eight yards out to make it 2-1.

Eight minutes later Pirates found the equaliser when Siyabonga Sangweni rose above the Stars defence to powerfully head home a right-wing cross from Mabalane.

In the 79th minute it was déjà vu for Da Gama and his men because in a matter of three minutes his side went from being a goal up to being a goal down after substitute Tokelo Rantie finished off a good passing movement in clinical style from 10 yards out to make it 3-2.

Four minutes from time another substitute, Benni McCarthy, sealed victory for Bucs, showing his strength to head home another Mabalane cross from the right: 4-2.

Stars did find a consolation goal in the 93rd minute as Lucas Thwala latched onto a corner-kick at the back post and headed the ball home.

The win for Pirates sees them up to fourth while Platinum Stars find themselves in real trouble at the wrong end of the table.

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