Juju comes back to sink Pirates

Former Buccaneer Thulasizwe Mbuyane scored the only goal of the game 10 minutes from time – a deserved victory for Clive Barker’s men, who had the better chances throughout.

Pirates coach Vladimir Vermezovic opted to start with Lehlohonolo Majoro as his lone striker, while there was also a welcome return to action for long-time absentee Siyabonga Sangweni.

Aces were without red-hot Siyanda Zwane, but it seemed to matter little as they dominated the first half, with Tendai Ndoro particularly involved.

The Zimbabwean striker hit the woodwork in the 13th minute when he latched onto a pinpoint low cross from Abia Nale. His effort beat goalkeeper Fatau Dauda, but not the upright.

Aces goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane was called into action shortly afterwards to punch away Mpho Makola’s free-kick, but it was all Ndoro in the first half as he continued to test Dauda.

First the Ghanaian international was forced to rush off his line to save an attempted chip, before getting down low to parry a shot after Oupa Manyisa had lost the ball in midfield.

Ndoro had two more efforts before the break – one of which was a thunderbolt that sailed inches wide after a mistake by Daudu – but the score at the break was 0-0.

Pirates were a lot better after the break, even though clear-cut chances were still hard to come by.

They came close on 74 minutes when Makola dummied to allow Sifiso Myeni some space, but Mabokgwane was equal to the task, tipping the former Bidvest Wits’ man’s shot over the bar.

Then, on 80 minutes, the winner from Mbuyane. Aces were awarded a free-kick on the left edge of the area but, rather than put the ball up in the air for someone to head home, ‘Juju’ fired a low effort inside the near-post which caught Dauda totally off-guard.

Vermezovic threw on a few substitutes as he looked to save the game but, in fairness, Pirates were never really in the game.

Still, they remain fourth in the standings, while Aces join them on 37 points in fifth place.

Follow me on Twitter @KickOffCooper