JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates rode their luck somewhat, but showed good character to earn a 1-0 win over Cape Town City in a drama-filled league match at the FNB Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Cape team – who had lost 2-0 to Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday, had their chances on the night and will point to a disallowed goal which may well have been given. But Pirates, who go top of the table for at least a day, showed good tenacity to keep themselves in the mix before pouncing for an 82nd minute winner.
Under new coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic Bucs have now claimed 11 of a possible 15 points this season, conceding just once in their five matches. They have however only scored four goals, so talk of a revival may still be premature.
Pirates were to enjoy the best of the early chances, starting in the 10th minute when Bernard Morrison threaded Thembinkosi Lorch through on goal, but City goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters did well to close the angle and make the save.
A minute later and the Buccaneers should have been in front when Thabo Qalinge’s miscued shot fell to Musa Nyatama inside the box, but from eight yards out he blasted the ball over the bar.
The action continued as Bucs keeper Wayne Sandilands kept out a long range shot by Lyle Lakay, before Morrison again threatened.
It was City who seemed set to take the lead 10 minutes before half time when Lehlohonolo Majoro appeared to bundle in Lakay’s cross from close range, but having tangled with Sandilands in the process, the goalkeeper was awarded a free kick in what was a highly debatable decision.
After returning from the break, the Soweto team began to find more fluency to their play, but couldn’t prise open the City defence and it was the visitors who had half a chance when Majoro headed wide.
Pirates however continued to assert themselves on the game and they were nearly ahead in the 68th minute when Thabo Matlaba turned in the box before curling a shot inches wide of the far post.
Chances were wasted as Lakay tried to cross when he should have shot while Pirates’ 17-year-old striker Lyle Foster was unable to finish after sprinting clear down the right.
Just as Benni McCarthy’s men were starting to get back on top of the game, the Sea Robbers struck with a scintillating break which ended with Foster’s cross picking out Qalinge at the back post, where he just about squeezed the ball home after Walters had been found wanting.