Highlands stun Bucs at Orlando

Orlando Pirates have been booted out of the MTN8 after going down 1-0 to Highlands Park on Saturday evening at Orlando Stadium.

Rhulani Mokwena, who was in charge after Milutin Sredojevic resigned late on Friday night, brought Thembinkosi Lorch, Vincent Pule and Justin Shonga back in the line-up.

The opening exchanges were lively, with both sides not holding back their attacks but the first real opportunity came in the 22nd minute for Highlands, as Lindokuhle Mbatha unleashed a powerful drive from outside the box, that was threatening but missed slightly wide.

Ndoro had a great chance to break the deadlock for the Lions of the North in the 26th minute after Ryan Rae delivered a long throw-in inside the box, but the Zimbabwean striker could not direct his free header on target, while Lorch squandered a one-on-one with Thela Ngobeni moments later.

Pirates goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands kept his side in the game with big saves to deny Wayde Jooste and Tendai Ndoro in the final 10 minutes of half, where the visitors looked more threatening on the counter.

The sides were measured in their approach early in the second stanza but Shonga had a glorious chance to break the deadlock for Pirates ten minutes inside the second-half, after twisting and turning successfully from the left-side of the box but his low strike from close-range was heroically saved by Ngoneni.

Neither side were taking the game by the scruff of the neck after the hour-mark and Mokwena changed his attacking dimension with 15 minutes remaining, as he brought on Luvuyo Memela in place of Mulenga.

Jooste finally broke the deadlock for Highlands eight minutes before time, with a thumping strike to the far corner after he was picked out by Peter Shalulile, following some good work by Tendai Ndoro.

Mokwena responded by making a double-change in the last four minutes to salvage the tie, but the changes had no desired effect as the Lions of the North remained resolute and held on for the win.

Teams:

Pirates: Sandilands, Jele, Ndengane, Maela, Motshwari, Nyatama, Monyane, Pule, Lorch,  Shonga,  Mulenga.

Subs: Mpontshane, Chabalala, Mbekile, Dlamini, Memela, Makaringe, Mabasa.

Highlands: Ngobeni, Mokoena, Ramoraka, Rae, Mzava, Makhaula, Mahlangu, Mbatha, Shalulile, Mvala, Ndoro.

Subs: Heugh, Mogaila, Fransman, Williams, Jooste, Nyembe, Munyai.

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