JOHANNESBURG, January 7 – Two goals and an assist from Luvuyo Memela paved the way for a 3-1 league win for Orlando Pirates over Baroka FC at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
The ground-work for the victory, which leaves the Sea Robbers only five points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, was laid in the opening half-an-hour, when they awoke Baroka from their holiday slumber with a three goal blitz.
Pirates showed excellent energy and enterprise early on and were in front after only five minutes played, when Musa Nyatama banged in a close range header after Baroka keeper Virgil Vries had been found wanting on a cross from Memela.
The Buccaneers continued with their purposeful play and they doubled their lead in the 19th minute, when Memela helped the ball over the line after a cross from Mthokozisi Dube, following some lovely interplay.
And it got even better eight minutes later as the hosts made it three when Memela finished clinically into the top corner, after a one-two with captain Thabo Matlaba inside the opposition box.
But the Limpopo team were able to pull a goal back just a minute later when Mduduzi Mdatsane slotted a penalty past Jackson Mabokgwane after Lucky Nguzana had been taken down in the box by Gladwin Shitolo.
More chances followed for the visitors as substitute Talent Chawapiwa fired wide, before Mpho Kgaswane’s rasping drive was tipped around the bar by Mabokgwane.
Baroka continued to press for a goal after half time, although it was Pirates who had a great chance to score when Nyatama got on the end of a header, but it went straight at Vries.
Bakgaga showed, however, that they were still in with a chance as Robin Ngalande stung Mabokgwane’s palms with a fierce drive before Nguzana had a goal disallowed for off-sides in a very tight decision.
On what was a near-perfect night for the Soweto team, they suffered a setback when Matlaba picked up a booking 15 minutes from time which will see him miss the upcoming game against Sundowns.
Pirates, though, were able to take the sting out of Baroka’s attack in the closing stages of the game to ultimately wrap up victory comfortably in what was a very promising start to 2018 for Milutin Sredojevic’s side, who took advantage of Sundowns’ defeat to Polokwane City to reignite their title hopes.
– African News Agency (ANA)