Sundowns beat Pirates

Mamelodi Sundowns beat Orlando Pirates 2-1 at Loftus Stadium in an Absa Premier League clash on Sunday afternoon.

Esrom Nyandoro and Benson Mhlongo scored for the Brazilians, while Lucas Thwala netted for the Buccaneers.

The visitors dominated the opening stages of the match and threatened in as early as the second minute when Joseph Makhanya sent a shot straight at Brian Baloyi.

Former Sundowns striker Paulus Masehe then had two shots brilliantly saved by Baloyi in the fifth and eighth minutes.

Sundowns’ first chance came in the 14th minute when Lerato Chabangu headed wide following poor defending by Pirates’ defence.

Peter Ndlovu then sent a shot just wide in the 17th minute following a good low cross by Josta Dladla.

Owen da Gama’s side were denied a penalty two minutes later when Mhlongo handled inside the area.

Lucky Lekgwathi almost put Pirates ahead in the 20th minute, but his scissor-kick was cleared off the line by Vuyo Mere.

Teko Modise then sent a shot just wide in the 22nd minute when Excellent Walaza put in a good low cross from the right.

Nyandoro put Sundowns ahead in the 37th minute when he scored with low shot from the edge of the area following a good pass from Chabangu.

However, their lead lasted five minutes as the Buccaneers were rewarded for the dominance in the 41st minute when Thwala headed home after Baloyi parried a Bennett Chenene free-kick, which Walaza then headed back across goal for Thwala to score from close-range.

But the hosts regained their lead on the stroke of half-time when Mhlongo headed home a free-kick by Godfrey Sapula.

Pirates were again first to threaten in the second stanza when Modise played Walaza clear on goal, but Baloyi made a superb save to deny the striker.

Mhlongo almost doubled his tally in the 65th minute when he headed just over the crossbar from a Dillon Sheppard corner.

Chabangu then had a shot cleared off the line by Joseph Makhanya in the 77th minute, while Sapula saw his header superbly saved by Senzo Meyiwa just seconds later.

Pirates had another penalty appeal turned down in the 78th minute when Walaza appeared to be hauled down inside the area.

Chenene then saw his free-kick come back off the post, and the Buccaneers should have levelled matters in the 88th minute when Modise played Chenene clear and the winger then passed to Walaza, who failed to make contact with the ball from six yards out.

Pirates should feel hard done by, they deserved at least a point from this game, but da Gama will definitely be drilling his strikers this week, ahead of Wednesday night’s clash with Jomo Cosmos, while Sundowns will be looking to build on this result when they travel to Cape Town, where they face Santos at Athlone Stadium the same night.