PSL News 13.12.2016 10:28 pm

Pirates suffer second league defeat

Maritzburg United celebrate the win during the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates at Harry Gwala Stadium on December 13, 2016 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Maritzburg United celebrate the win during the Absa Premiership match between Maritzburg United and Orlando Pirates at Harry Gwala Stadium on December 13, 2016 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Orlando Pirates suffered their second league defeat of the season, as they went down 2-1 to Maritzburg United in an Absa Premiership clash at the Harry Stadium in Maritzburg on Tuesday evening.

Both of Maritzburg’s goals came from set pieces, which had been Pirates’ Achilles heel in recent times. After Maritzburg’s Evans Rusike had been fouled by Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Lebohang Maboe’s free kick found the home team’s SA under 23 national team midfielder Deolin Mekoa, who set up defender Bevan Fransman to opening the scoring with his left foot in the 49th minute.

Maritzburg doubled their lead in the 67th minute, when defender Brian Onyango headed home from a corner kick delivered by Kurt Lentjies, to leave Pirates with much work to do to get back into the game.

To their credit, the visitors returned to the fray in attack mode and were rewarded with a goal in the 82nd minute when substitute striker Ayanda Nkosi scored but there was no way of salvaging the match, with Maritzburg being the deserved winners on the night.

The first half ended goalless but Pirates can consider themselves fortunate to have shared the spoils at the break after home team striker Mohau Mokate scored in the 25th minute, only for the goal to be ruled offside. Eight minutes later, Pirates defender Happy Jele was unable to put Pirates ahead, as his header effort was kept out by the Maritzburg crossbar.

The defeat will have placed mounting pressure on the shoulders of Pirates caretaker coach Augusto Palacios, with the Soweto glamour team having now gone four games without a win. Pirates have produced three wins, 2 draws and two losses since Palacios took over the coaching reigns following the resignation of the previous mentor Muhsin Ertugral on November 1.

Pirates remain on 18 points after 12 league matches, with their next outing set to be a home encounter against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg, on December 20.

Maritzburg, now on 17 points from 13 games, will pack their bags for an away trip to Platinum Stars at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on December 17.

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