; Poised Polokwane City stun Pirates – The Citizen

Poised Polokwane City stun Pirates

Sipho Jembula of Polokwane City and Lennox Bacela of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership match between Polokwane City and Orlando Pirates at Peter Mokaba Stadium on February 15, 2014 in Polokwane, South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images

Sipho Jembula of Polokwane City and Lennox Bacela of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership match between Polokwane City and Orlando Pirates at Peter Mokaba Stadium on February 15, 2014 in Polokwane, South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images

Polokwane City produced one of the major shocks of the Premier League season when they beat Caf Champions League runners-up Orlando Pirates 1-0 at a stunned Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

But, perhaps, even more surprising than the result itself, was the manner in which the relegation-threatened Polokwane combination gave the spiralling Buccaneers a run-around for much of the 90 minutes and would have won by a bigger margin had they not squandered several gilt-edged opportunities.

Nevertheless, City’s astute coach Boebie Solomons was not complaining about the result which emerged from Sipho Jembula’s 27th minute opportunist goal. It moves his team from 14th position in the log to a more comfortable and respectable 11th spot.

“We had a plan,” said Solomons afterwards. “We took note of how Pirates have been performing in recent matches and what is going on at the club generally and worked out our tactics accordingly.”

What exactly is going on in the Pirates camp is a disturbing slump since the departure of coach Roger de Sa, who ironically was made a scapegoat by zealous supporters for The Buccaneers losing three finals -forgetting, in the process, that it was De Sa who helped the team reach the finals in the first place.

Since De Sa’s departure, former assistant coach Eric Tinkler has taken over as interim head coach. But Tinkler’s reign is already due for an abrupt ending, with the under-Pressure Pirates announcing on Friday that former Kaizer Chiefs coach Vladimir Vermezovic would be taking over as soon as he received a work permit.

Pirates’ frustration and confusion was illustrated by the fact that three players — Thandani Ntshumayelo, Ayanda Gcaba and Oupa Manyisa — were booked within a period of five minutes shortly after half-time.

Two of the related infringements resulted in Polokwane City receiving free-kicks on the edge of the penalty area, which might easily have resulted in the home team increasing their lead.

The all-important breakthrough goal for City was also the product of a Pirates mix-up, with newly-installed Ghanaian goalkeeper Fatau Dauda not on the same wavelength as his co-defenders.

Jembula eagerly took advantage of the situation and slotted the ball into an empty net for what turned out to be the only goal of the game.

City played with a great deal of added confidence after taking the lead and “man-of-the-match” Vukile Mngqibisa marshalled the defence with aplomb from his central role in the rear-line.

At the same time, City looked dangerous on numerous occasions from darting counter-attacks, but they failed to take advantage twice with only the goalkeeper to beat from close-range.

Pirates launched a desperate offensive in the final 10 minutes and Kermit Erasmus came within a whisker of equalising with a 20-metre shot that was centimetres wide of the post.

But City continued to play with an assurance that belied their modest log position until the end and gave every indication of holding onto their place in the Premier League.

Pirates, meanwhile, remain 17 points behind log leaders and defending champions Chiefs and, even with four games in hand, have a mountain to climb if they are to challenge their Soweto arch-rivals – even if Vermezovic emerges as some sort of miracle worker when he takes over.

– Sapa

 

 

 

 

 

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