AmaZulu slay Pirates
Posted: 23 December 2007 Time: 18:00
Orlando Pirates ended a disappointing 2007 on a sour note with a 1-0 Absa Premiership defeat to AmaZulu at the Princess Magogo Stadium on Sunday.
It was just Usuthu’s second home win of the season, while Pirates have still only won once on the road and end the year in seventh, one point, and one place, above AmaZulu.
The only goal of the game came 19 minutes in when 21-year-old striker Dumisani Ngwenya netted his sixth of the season for Usuthu.
Siyabonga Mkhwanazi fed Ngwenya 18-yards out and with time and space to line-up the shot, he rifled the ball past a despairing Senzo Meyiwa in the Bucs goal.
The instruction from home coach Clive Barker were clear as Pirates playmaker Teko Modise came in for some rough treatment, twice having to leave the field to be attended to by medical staff.
It certainly had an affect on his performance, as instead of looking for a ball to unlock the home defence, he would release to the nearest teammate as soon as he received it.
It also meant Pirates struggled to break down the home defence, and their only real attempt on goal in the opening stanza came from a long-range effort from Lucky Lekgwathi that was comfortably saved.
Bucs coach Owen da Gama brought on top scorer Excellent Walaza for Ralph Matema, and Lebohang Mokoena for Joseph Makhanya, at halftime in a bid to change their attacking fortunes.
They managed to create a couple of half-chances in the early stages of the half, Destin Makita headed over Modise’s free-kick, while Mokoena tried his luck from range, but it was a comfortable save for Mbongeni Mzimela in the home goal.
Bucs lost skipper Lucky Lekgwathi on 50 minutes to a groin strain, the rightback being replaced by Bongani Cashibe.
At the other end Ngwenya almost collected his second goal with a fierce drive from the edge of the area that was saved by Meyiwa, and he should have made it 2-0 on 61 minutes when he was clean through on goal, but again couldn’t beat an on-rushing Meyiwa, who blocked his shot.
Barker brought on the experience of 42-year-old Shoes Moshoeu for Ngwenya with 20 minutes to go as the home side were beginning to get overrun in midfield.
And the Pirates pressure turned up a notch with 15 minutes to go and Cashibe found space on the edge of the area, but his first-time shot comfortably rose above the bar.
Keeper Mzimela was looking uncertain under the high ball in the swirling wind and although he fumbled crosses on three occasions, the ball just wouldn’t drop to a Pirates boot in the six-yard box.
Bennett Chenene tried an overhead-kick from all of 30-yards that flew high and wide, but it showed the desperation of the Pirates players, who must have begun to feel it would take some special to break Usuthu down.
There were jubilant scenes from the home side at the final whistle, while there is plenty of thinking for Da Gama to do before the League resumes mid-February.