Orlando Pirates 1-0 Mamelodi Sundowns

Pirates kept the same side that thrashed Polokwane City the last time out while Sundowns made only one forced change from their CAF Champions League win over USM Alger, as Sphelele Mkhulise replaced the suspended Themba Zwane.

The Buccaneers had a great chance to grab an early lead after Motjeka Madisha lost possession in a dangerous area but Luvuyo Memela could not capitalise, after shooting straight at Sundowns goalkeeper Denis Onyango.

Pitso Mosimane’s charges came close to going ahead in the 16th minute after Gaston Sirino picked out Anele Ngcongca with a great free-kick at the far post but the defender’s header hit the upright.

The visitors gained momentum after that and were unlucky again not to break the deadlock a minute later after Pirates goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands denied Thapelo Morena’s goal-bound shot with his legs and Sirino’s follow-up shot was blocked by desperate defending.

Josef Zinnbauer’s troops finally found the breakthrough on the half-hour mark courtesy of Mhango, who beat the offside trap and fired a low shot past Onyango from Memela’s through ball to take his tally to 11 league goals for the season.

With neither side carving out clear openings early in the second stanza, Zinnbauer opted for a different approach ten minutes after the break with Thabiso Monyane replacing Memela.

On the other side, Mosimane reacted in the 66th minute bringing on speedy forward Phakamani Mahlambi in place of midfielder Mkhulise in search of the equaliser.

The Brazilians almost levelled matters with 12 minutes remaining after Sirino unleashed a dipping strike from the right side of the box that hit the inside of the near post, went across the line and hit the other side of the post,  while Lebohang Maboe unable to capitalise on the rebound.

Masandawana had a chance to snatch the equaliser in the last three minutes with a free-kick from just outside the box but Hlompho Kekana ballooned his strike over the bar and in the end Pirates held on clinch a morale-boosting win.

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Source – SoccerLaduma