Pirates get league campaign back on track

Oupa Manyisa (Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

Oupa Manyisa (Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

Orlando Pirates returned to league action with a narrow win over Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday night.

Zambian international Collins Mbesuma struck in the first half, and while Maritzburg put up a strong fight, the Buccaneers secured a 1-0 victory in their first Premiership match in more than four weeks, after a lengthy absence due to African Champions League commitments.

“It’s always tough coming here, but we dug in deep and we’re delighted with the three points,” said Pirates’ coach Roger de Sa.

“We had one or two chances to get the second goal, and I don’t think it was our best performance. We weren’t that fluid and battled a bit with our passing game, but we managed to get the win.”

The hosts had a chance in the 19th minute, but Ryan de Jongh’s effort from an angle was deflected into the side netting by Pirates’ goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa.

Bucs, playing only their fourth league encounter of the season, took the lead on the half-hour mark when Thabo Matlaba delivered a chip to Mbesuma, who slid in to find the back of the net.

Creating their second real opportunity late in the first half, Thabang Matuka sent over a well-placed cross for Maritzburg in the 45th minute, but Meyiwa dived forward and got a hand to the ball to avert the danger.

Fighting for the equaliser in a bruising second period, the home side came close again in the 65th minute, when De Jongh crossed the ball in from the right. While Delron Buckley got a slight touch to it from close range, it raced across the face of goal.

With 17 minutes left, and Maritzburg desperate to save a point, Thokozani Sekotlong blasted an attempt into the stands from the edge of the area, and Yakubu Mohammed missed wide to the left from a long-range set-piece in injury time as Pirates held on for the win.





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