Pirates too strong for Galaxy

Orlando Pirates proved too strong for TS Galaxy on Saturday evening, claiming a 1-0 win in a DStv Premiership clash at the Orlando Stadium.

The Buccaneers triumphed thanks to Deon Hotto’s strike midway through the first half, with the result pushing them up to fifth place on the log – eight points adrift of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, having played three games more.

The Soweto giants are on a strong run of four wins and one draw from their last five league outings.

As for the Rockets, who will compete in the Carling Knockout final next weekend, this is a sixth defeat from 13 league matches and leaves them in 13th place – five points clear of the relegation playoff zone.

Galaxy created the first clear chance of the match on six minutes, with Lindokuhle Mbatha and Lehlohonolo Mojela denied in quick succession by Pirates goalkeeper Melusi Buthelezi.

Another opportunity for the visitors arose less than two minutes later, with Sphiwe Mahlangu rounding the ‘keeper before seeing the ball snatched off his toes by a recovering Fortune Makaringe.

Pirates suffered an early injury blow when Vincent Pule was forced off with a suspected concussion and was replaced by Karim Kimvuidi in just the 20th minute.

Yet the Buccaneers bounced back from their early worries and claimed the lead in the 25th minute, with Deon Hotto scoring a fine effort direct from a free kick – with Galaxy ‘keeper Vasilije Kolak left rooted on his goal line.

The Buccaneers should have doubled their advantage in the 39th minute when they carved out a chance for Relebohile Mofokeng, but he was denied one-on-one by Kolak.

The Rockets’ shot-stopper was in action again shortly thereafter, tipping Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo’s long-range effort over the crossbar to ensure the score remained only 1-0 in favour of the hosts heading into the break.

Galaxy made a triple change just before the hour mark, introducing Samir Nurkovic, Mlungisi Mbunjana and Nkosikhona Radebe, while Pirates threw on Zakhele Lepasa and Kabelo Dlamini in response a few minutes later.

The subs generally struggled to change the momentum of the game, though Dlamini had a great chance to score a second goal for Pirates on 84 minutes, but he was heroically denied by a fine challenge from McBeth Mahlangu.

Lepasa almost missed out after a scramble for a loose ball in the Galaxy penalty area in the final minute of regulation time, but ultimately the Buccaneers were able to secure victory.

Pirates will return to league action next Sunday, December 17, with a clash away to Golden Arrows, while Galaxy will face Stellenbosch FC the day prior in the final of the Carling Knockout.

Orlando Pirates (1) 1 (Hotto 25’)

TS Galaxy 0

Pirates: Buthelezi, Ndah, Nyongo, Makaringe, Maswanganyi, Timm, Ndlondlo (Baloni 87’), Hotto, Pule (Kimvuidi 20’ [Otladisa 86’]), Mofokeng (Dlamini 65’), Makgopa (Lepasa 65’)

Galaxy: Kolak, Munyai, M. Mahlangu, Sanoka, Letsoenyo, Mvelase (Mbunjana 58’), Khiba (Semache 68’), Mbatha (Radebe 58’), S. Mahlangu, Vidal (Mongae 75’), Mojela (Nurkovic 58’)