Polokwane City vs Orlando Pirates
Posted: 15 February 2014 Time: 15:22
Orlando Pirates' League title dreams are hanging by a thread following a 1-0 defeat to Polokwane City at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Sipho Jembula scored the only goal of the game, capitalising on a defensive mix-up between Thabo Matlaba and Fatau Dauda to slot the ball into the empty net.
Jembula missed another great chance early in the second half, but it was the Buccaneers who dominated possession and chances; the best of which fell to Happy Jele, but he headed over the bar from three metres out.
The game was controlled largely by Pirates, but a resilient display in defence from the home side kept them at bay.
Still, the Buccaneers had plenty of chances to find the back of the net, but bad decision-making in the final third combined with poor finishing cost them on the day.
The opening half was largely congested in the middle of the park with the Polokwane players giving the Pirates attackers very little time on the ball.
Still, Bucs were able to fashion chances almost at will in the opening 20 minutes.
In the sixth minute Lucky Lekgwathi was afforded a free header at a corner-kick, but pushed his effort over the target, while in the 12th minute Kermit Erasmus blazed wide from 25 yards out.
Matlaba found himself in space and on the end of a well-worked free-kick from the edge of the box, but he shot carelessly over the target from close range.
In the 18th minute Erasmus had another go at goal when he latched onto a goalmouth scramble inside the Polokwane box, but again he shot wide from 12-yards out.
Ten minutes later Polokwane took the lead very much against the run of play thanks to some determined work from Jembula.
Miss-communication between Matlaba and Dauda from a routine ball over the top saw Jembula sneak inbetween them and force the ball home form a few yards out.
The second 45 progressed much the same as the first with Pirates in attack, throwing numbers forward in search of the equaliser and leaving themselves exposed at the back.
Polokwane nearly capitalised in the 60th minute when a breakout saw Puleng Tlolane with just the keeper to beat, but his chipped effort over the onrushing Dauda went narrowly wide of the post.
Pirates did not create much in attack in the second 45 and were constantly thwarted by the Polokwane defence, though Happy Jele did miss a great chance when he headed over the bar from three metres out, while Erasmus fired a thunderbolt past the upright.
And in the dying seconds Dauda showed what he is capable of when he denied Sphesihle Nzimande from point-blank range after a well-worked move.
The game ended 1-0 in favour of the minnows, who picked up a very valuable three points. For Pirates, the result leaves them in seventh place, 17 points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs but having played four games less.