Mashego nets Pirates winner

The Buccaneers started the match in a different shape than they are used to, beginning in 4-4-2 formation with their new signing from SuperSport United, Mashego, partnering Gilbert Mushangazhike up front.

It was evident from early on that Maritzburg were going to struggle with Pirates' new system as they moved freely in the midfield and constantly found the strikers in space.

Ironically the first chance of the game fell to United in the sixth minute. A long throw-in from the left found John Arwuah unmarked inside the 18 yard box allowing him a free header on goal from 12 yards out, but the always exciting Moeneeb Josephs was up to the task as he dove full stretch to his right to palm the ball away from danger.

The opening goal of the game came in the 14th minute when referee Peter Mabuza adjudged Fanyana Dhladhla to have pulled down Teko Modise just inside the box and awarded a penalty-kick. Lucas Thwala made no mistake from the spot, ferociously firing the ball past Tashrique Goldman before he could even move a muscle, 1-0.

United had their fair amount of possession in the half winning five corners from which they failed to create any decent goal scoring opportunities.

Mashego, on the other hand, announced his presence at Pirates by scoring a goal in the 39th minute on his debut. The former SuperSport striker found himself with the ball on the left flank and attempted a half shot/cross that caught Goldman unaware in the Maritzburg goal. The United goalie tried despairingly to get back to stop the attempt, but to his disappointment it sailed over his head and across the goal line, 2-0. Whether Mashego intended it or not doesn't matter, as they all count.

Maritzburg came out of the half time break looking more determined as they controlled the possession early on in the second half but despite their dominance they continually lacked a quality final ball into the box.

Eventually, in the 64th minute, United managed to pull a goal back, but it took a piece of brilliance from Dhladhla to make it happen. Dhladhla produced the moment of the match when he superbly chipped Josephs from the edge of the 18 yard box who was marginally off his line, 2-1.

We now had a game on our hands as you could see the jitters tart to emerge in the Buccaneers defence, especially in the ever inconsistent Josephs.

Piratesʼ first attempt on goal in the second half only came in the 67th minute when Mashego let fly from 30 yards out, he struck it powerfully, but Goldman held onto it comfortably.

Goldman kept is side in the game in the 75th minute when Teko Modise pulled the best out of him when he fired a powerful shot from 20 yards out that was headed into the top corner, but Goldman palmed the ball away from danger.

Unitedʼs chances of finding an equaliser were further crushed when Dhladhla was rightly sent off for receiving a second yellow card after fouling Josephs.

Time ran out for Maritzburg as the game ended 2-1 and Gordon Igesundʼs side slipped to the bottom of the Absa Premiership log.

Courtesy of Backpagepix