Pirates hold on in Derby classic

The Buccaneers had raced out of the blocks and were 3-0 up after 24 minutes courtesy of a brace from Benni McCarthy and Andile Jali’s tap-in. However, goals from Siphiwe Tshabalala and Lehlohonolo Majoro ensured a tense finish in front of 87 000 fans

In one of the most exciting 45 minutes in recent Soweto Derby history, The Buccaneers were out of the blocks like a house on fire, though they were helped in no small measure by some woeful defending from the AmaKhosi.

It took just nine minutes for McCarthy to score on his Derby debut – and it was a piece of play that Keegan Ritchie will not want to see again.

Itumeleng Khune had done well to save Oupa Manyisa’s shot with his legs, with the ball falling to the former Moroka Swallows defender. But rather than clear it from danger, Ritchie tripped over the ball, allowing McCarthy to bury the ball into the roof of the net.

It took Chiefs all of 19 minutes to have their first attempt at goal – Bernard Parker running onto a lob over the top and firing a shot on target, but Thato Matlaba did well to track back and block the effort.

It was to prove a false dawn though, as Pirates made it 2-0 three minutes later. Some great vision from McCarthy played Tlou Segolela in on the left. His chip beat the onrushing Khune, meaning a simple tap-in for Jali, under pressure from his own man Daine Klate!

And four minutes later it was Segolela weaving more magic down the left, beating two players before setting up McCarthy for an expert finish into the far corner.

Chiefs pulled one back in the 33rd minute, and it was worth the wait too. Siphiwe Tshabalala got the ball on the edge of the area with his back to goal, turned one defender, and then fired a low shot past Moeneeb Josephs.

Shortly afterwards Segolela missed a chance to get his name on the scoresheet, but he fired over as Bucs went into the break in the ascendency.

Chiefs looked a better side after the break, while at the same time Pirates became a lot more circumspect, seemingly content to hold onto their lead.

Mandla Masango had an early chance to pull a goal back, but he failed to get over an excellent cross from Tshabalala.

Still, Chiefs kept attacking and on the hour-mark thought they had a penalty when Rooi Mahamutsa looked to have brought down Bernard Parker, but replays suggested referee Robert Sithole was correct in waving the appeals away.

Against the run of play, Pirates almost netted a fourth in spectacular fashion when Segolela spotted Khune off his line and had a go from the halfway line, but his shot sailed inches over with the goalie a mere spectator.

Then, on 70 minutes, Chiefs got their second. Parker’s flicked-on corner fell to substitute Majoro, who did spun around and fired the ball into the back of the net.

Chiefs kept on pushing for an unlikely equaliser, but with Pirates content to sit back and defend, it was always going to be a tough ask, though Tshabalala did come close in the dying minutes, only for Josephs to block at his feet.

The three points move Pirates up to second place, with Chiefs remaining third.

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