JOHANNESBURG, September 15 – Orlando Pirates looked to have received the boost they needed to get their season going with a hard-fought 3-1 league win over SuperSport United at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
The game was closer than the score line suggested and the Sea Robbers had to show some real character to claim victory. Pirates had taken an early lead through Vincent Pule, only for SuperSport to level in the 69th minute through Bongani Khumalo, before two late goals – from Thembinkosi Lorch and Ben Motshwari secured victory for the Soweto giants.
The result takes Pirates third on the table, equal on points but with an inferior goal difference to Bloemfontein Celtic, who play away at Black Leopards on Sunday.
The home team were off to a flying start when Pule headed in an inviting cross from Augustine Mulenga for a 15th minute lead.
Bradley Grobler was doing his best to try and get United back in the game, but he found Siyabonga Mpontshane in the way as the Bucs keeper did well to keep out a headed effort on 27 minutes.
With SuperSport looking for an equaliser, gaps opened up on the counter and Pirates could have doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Mulenga teed up Linda Mntambo, but the former Chippa United man steered his effort wide.
At the other end, Grobler had two chances in quick succession, but sent a chip from just outside the box onto the roof of the net before curling a shot from inside the area just over.
The action continued in a lively manner after the restart, the Pretoria team missing an early chance when Teboho Mokoena failed to get a touch in a good position, while Pule was unable to get a header on target from 10-yards out.
SuperSport were always in the game though, and Bucs had their advantage cancelled out in the 69th minute when a delightful bit of skill from Aubrey Modiba saw him beating three defenders before crossing for Khumalo at the back post, the big defender doing well to score with an outstretched boot from a metre out.
If Modiba’s assist had been special, so too was the piece of magic which put the Sea Robbers back in front as Xola Mlambo back-heeled the ball for Lorch, the unexpected touch giving Lorch the time and space to pick out the bottom corner from just inside the box with eight minutes to play.
It got even better for Bucs five minutes later when Mulenga won the ball off Dean Furman, sprinted down the right and pulled the ball back for Ben Motshwari, whose shot struck Matsatsantsa keeper Ronwen Williams before the ball bounced back into the Pirates midfielder and then into the net.
There was almost a fourth, but Williams did well to deny Justin Shonga as Bucs finished the game with their tails up. (ANA)