Sekhukhune down Pirates, climb to third place

Sekhukhune United continued their outstanding form in the DStv Premiership by defeating Orlando Pirates 2-1 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday evening.

Babina Noko, who triumphed thanks to goals either side of halftime from Vusumuzi Mncube and Linda Mantambo, have now claimed five successive league wins and rose to third place on the log – displacing the Buccaneers (who saw their six-game unbeaten streak across all competitions come to an end) on goal difference.

The teams cancelled each other out for the first 15 minutes, with no notable chances at either end, before Sekhukhune offered the first genuine threat via Jamie Webber, who latched onto a loose ball just outside the penalty area and fired a shot on target, with Pirates goalkeeper Sipho Chaine making a fine save.

On 20 minutes the visitors offered up their first effort on target, with Relebohile Mofokeng twisting and turning in the penalty area before stinging the palms of goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare, who saved at his near post to keep out a shot from a tight angle.

Pirates appeared to be taking control of the game, but just past the half-hour mark Sekhukhune broke the deadlock via Vusumuzi Mncube, who ran onto Linda Mntambo’s clever pass into space and stabbed the ball past Chaine for a 1-0 lead.

The hosts led 1-0 at the break, and needed just six minutes of the second half to double their advantage. A counter attack saw Mncube play a superb pass to put Elias Mokwana in on goal – he then unselfishly played a teasing ball across the face of goal which allowed Mntambo to arrive late at the far post and tuck the ball into the net for 2-0.

Sekhukhune’s second goal sparked Pirates into life, and they pulled a goal back in the 56th minute, with Tshegofatso Mabasa sliding in at the back post to turn home Deon Hotto’s low cross from the left for 2-1.

The Buccaneers went on to threaten an equaliser, hitting the post from a corner kick in the 64th minute, while Mofokeng was denied by a sharp save from Sangare a quarter hour later, as Babina Noko withdrew in defence and looked to play on the counter.

This proved a wise decision for the side in red and white, as they were able to hold out through the remainder of the match and secure a club-record fifth successive Premiership win.

The teams will return to DStv Premiership action this coming midweek, with Sekhukhune hosting Cape Town City on Tuesday 2 April, while Pirates will be away to Moroka Swallows the following day.

Sekhukhune United (1) 2 (Mncube 32’, Mntambo 51’)

Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Mabasa 56’)

Sekhukhune: Sangare, Mobbie, Cardoso, Yamba, Tiwani, Mokotjo (Mtshali 58’), Mkhize, Webber (Mahlangu 66’), Mncube (Ohizu 66’), Mokwana, Mntambo (Carnell 77’)

Pirates: Chaine, Lebitso, Ndah, Sesana (Mthethwa 46’), Hotto, Timm (Kapinga 62’), Mbatha, Mofokeng (Lepasa 88’), Dlamini, Saleng (Kimvuidi 62’), Mabasa