The Tycoons might not have had the lion’s share of possession or have been on the right end of the score line, but they were certainly the better team on the day, and Pirates were lucky to steal victory from the home side.
The Buccaneers started the first half well, with Siphelele Mthembu hitting the net in the eighth minute, but they fell away badly after that as Stars got a stranglehold on midfield, suffocating possession and controlling the game. Dillon Sheppard and Luis Renteria, in particular, were phenomenal for the Tycoons.
Sheppard dictated play in the middle of the park while Renteria was a constant threat up-front as Bucs’ defence struggled to deal with his strength and speed.
But Stars were non-existent in the opening ten minutes, allowing Pirates to take the lead. Stars suffered some misfortune as a deflected clearance fell into the path of Mthembu, putting him one-on-one with the keeper. The young striker made no mistake as he easily fired the ball past Wayne Sandilands to make it 1-0.
That was Stars’ only slip-up in the first half, and they began to show their class as they fought their way back into the match, scoring their goal in the 19th minute after some brilliant play by Sheppard down the left flank, who produced a good cross into the 18-yard box that Bradley Grobler knocked down for Renteria to fire home powerfully from 16 yards out and level the scores.
Stars were extremely unlucky not to go ahead a minute before the half-time break when Sheppard struck the inside of the right-hand upright. Again Sheppard showed some fine skill to break down the left flank before cutting back inside to fire a ferocious shot that had Moeneeb Josephs beat.
The second half was more of the same, but Stars were made to rue their constant misfiring in front of the Pirates goal. A perfect example of this was when Renteria found himself one-on-one with Josephs, but as the striker tried to tip the ball around the keeper he went to ground, and appealed for a penalty. The referee waved away the appeals and booked Renteria for diving.
Then Teko Modise from out of nowhere into the game, and put Pirates ahead in the 63rd minute. Modise tried his luck from 22 yards out, and his shot deflected off a Tycoons defender, unluckily lobbing over the head of Sandilands and into the Stars goal to make it 2-1 to Pirates.
The Buccaneers managed to hold onto their lead despite constant attacking pressure from Stars. In the end the Tycoons were unlucky to get no points from this game, while Pirates will be ecstatic with the three points which moves them up into third spot, six points behind the League leaders.