SuperSport down Pirates to seal top-eight finish

SuperSport United defeated Orlando Pirates 2-0 at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Monday evening to secure a top-eight finish and wrap up the 2021-22 DStv Premiership campaign.

The catch-up match – which was postponed due to the Buccaneers’ run to the final of the CAF Confederation Cup – was decided by an own goal from Fortune Makaringe and a second-half penalty from Ghampani Lungu and means that Matsatsantsa replace Golden Arrows in eighth place and will participate in the MTN8 next season.

As for Pirates, their hopes of snatching third place from Royal AM and returning to the Confederation Cup next season were dashed, and they ended a disappointing campaign in sixth place.

If the usual order for the MTN8 quarterfinals is applied next season, then SuperSport will face Mamelodi Sundowns, Cape Town City will battle AmaZulu, Royal will take on Pirates and Stellenbosch will face Kaizer Chiefs.

Both teams were more than prepared to attack from the early minutes, with Pirates needing Ntsikelelo Nyauza to make an important block on a Jesse Donn shot, before Bucs swept up the other end and saw Thembinkosi Lorch put an effort off target.

United claimed the lead on 20 minutes, with Fortune Makaringe scoring an unfortunate own goal. The midfielder inadvertently glanced Aubrey Ngoma’s in-swinging corner kick delivery past the left hand of goalkeeper Richard Ofori at the near post.

And SuperSport should have gone 2-0 up less than a minute later, as they cut their way through Pirates’ defence before Iqraam Rayners had a shooting chance from inside the box, but his effort was well saved by Ofori.

The visiting team were close to an equaliser on the half-hour mark when Kwame Peprah picked up Deon Hotto’s pass from the left and managed to turn in the box, before sending a deflected shot onto the right-hand post of SuperSport goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

Pirates kept on pressing forward in search of an equaliser, with close shaves for Hotto and Peprah in what remained of the half, but the interval arrived with Matsatsantsa still 1-0 up.

The Soweto side created the first chance of the second stanza, with a corner kick seeing Peprah head an effort on target on 50 minutes, only to see Kegan Johannes make a fine clearance off the goal line.

Pirates’ hopes of a comeback were effectively ended in the 66th minute when Thamsanqa Gabuza burst through the defence and was pushed over in the 18-yard area by Happy Jele. A penalty was awarded and the Pirates defender was shown a straight red card for a cynical denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

Ghampani Lungu’s first attempt at the spot kick was saved by Ofori’s legs, though the assistant referee flagged for the ‘keeper having left his line too early. The Zambian attacker buried his second chance in the back of the net to make it 2-0 on 69 minutes.

The remainder of the match was reduced to a somewhat scrappy affair, with neither side able to create any further clear chances, though SuperSport were more than happy to hear the final whistle and secure a positive end to the campaign.

SuperSport United (1) 2 (Makaringe og 20’, Lungu 69’ pen)

Orlando Pirates 0

SuperSport: Williams, Nhlapo, Johannes, Fleurs, Bhasera, Rayners (Rasebotja 78’), Mbatha (Webber 64’), Donn, Ngoma (Maseko 78’), Lungu, Gabuza (Maziko 86’)

Pirates: Ofori, Nyauza, Jele, Ndah, Shandu, Makaringe (Dzvukamanja 63’), Mosele, Dlamini (Makhubela 70’), Lorch, Hotto, Peprah (Mabasa 80’)