Bucs leave it late again

Orlando Pirates © Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates’ penchant for important late goals continued on Wednesday night when they defeated Chippa United 1-0 at Orlando Stadium in their final DStv Premiership match of the year.

Fortune Makaringe netted with less than five minutes of regulation time remaining, sealing a victory which sees the Buccaneers continue their uneaten run and rise to third place on the log (four points adrift of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns), while the Chilli Boys are 14th after suffering a fourth loss from seven games.

Pirates suffered a very early injury blow, with Zakhele Lepasa appearing to sustain a lower leg issue while jumping for an aerial challenge. Frank Mhango rose off the bench to replace the young striker in the fifth minute.

On nine minutes the hosts were perhaps unlucky not be awarded a penalty, with a mistimed challenge by Thabiso Lebitso on Thabiso Monyane in the 18-yard area going unpunished.

The teams created few chances through the first half, with the best seeing Pirates’ Mhango get on the end of a cross from Thembinkosi Lorch in the 40th minute, but his header was tipped away by Chippa goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali.

Controversy struck a few minutes before the end of regulation time in the first half when Chippa were reduced to 10 men, with defender Sandile Mthethwa shown a straight red card for elbowing Deon Hotto.

Television replays suggested Thando Ndzandzeka’s decision was a harsh one, with the Chilli Boys centre-back’s action appearing to be clumsy rather than deliberate or malicious.

Both teams made tactical changes at the start of the second half, with Chippa patching the hole in defence by sending on Ryan Rae, while the Buccaneers boosted their attack by replacing fullback Monyane with forward Tshegofatso Mabasa.

With a numerical advantage, Pirates had no trouble dominating possession and pushing Chippa deep in defence, but they rarely called Mtshali into significant action.

They looked to rectify that with a double change which saw Terrence Dzvukamanja replace Mabasa (who picked up an injury in his short time on the pitch) and Nkanyiso Zungu take Ben Motshwari’s place in midfield.

Pirates’ attacking approach was finally rewarded on 86 minutes when another substitute, Linda Mntambo, played a well-weighted pass for Fortune Makaringe to sweep home a right-footed shot and seal victory for the team in black and white.

Chippa will be back in DStv Premiership action on Sunday, December 20 when they play AmaZulu away from home, while Pirates will not be in domestic action this weekend, but have a tough trip to Angola to play Sagrada Esperanca next midweek in the CAF Confederation Cup.

Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Makaringe 86’)
Chippa United 0

PIRATES: Ofori, Monyane (Mabasa 46’ [Dzvukamanja 71’]), Nyauza, Maela, Mako (Mntambo 82’), Motshwari (Zungu 71’), Makaringe, Pule, Lorch, Hotto, Lepasa (Mhango 5’)

CHIPPA: Mtshali, Mobbie, Khooa, Maloisane (Mokhele 71’), Hanamub, Nhlapo, Mthethwa, Phewa, Lebitso (Damons 64’), Eva Nga, Kwem (Rae 46’)