Johannesburg – Thabo Mosadi scored a late winner as the University of Pretoria shocked Orlando Pirates 1-0 in a Premiership clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday evening.
Mosadi's lone strike 84 minutes into the game was one of only a handful of chances for the Pretoria outfit, as they seized their chance and put the Buccaneers to the sword for a momentary lapse of concentration.
The win, though classified as a home game, was only Tuks' second away from the Tuks Stadium in Pretoria and a delighted coach Steve Barker looked on as Pirates painted a dejected team, who will feel that they should have walked away with a win, judging by the amount of attempts at goal.
The visitors seemed to settle quicker and had plenty of early chances fall to the likes of Helder Pelembe, Thabo Matlaba and Khethokwakhe Masuku, but none were able to test Tuks goalkeeper Washington Arubi.
Tuks looked to have found their feet midway through the opening half but still found it difficult to penetrate their opponents' defence, as Pirates continued their solid defensive display.
Having enjoyed the majority of possession and continually paying visits into the opposition half, Pirates had nothing to show for their dominance as Tuks held firm at the back, which appeared to frustrate the Sea Robbers towards half-time.
Pirates had their best chance of the half in the 38th minute when Oupa Manyisa thundered an effort goalwards following a pull-back to the edge of the area.
Junior Sibande, however, was well-placed as the ball took a nasty deflection but ultimately ran out of danger, leaving a relieved Arubi thanking his defender who stopped certain goal.
Goalless at the break, the Buccaneers were wasteful in front of goal early in the second period when Mpho Makola skied his effort from a promising free-kick, the game continuing to provide little excitement for the Nelspruit supporters.
The Soweto outfit had to wait until the 63rd minute for their first real, clear-cut chance, as second-half substitute Joseph Malongoane's first touch was a shot on target, which was parried away by Arubi, following a clinical build-up from a Pirates side looking more confident on the ball.
It was all going Pirates' way, but yet they failed to find the back of the net as Thandani Ntshumayelo struck the side-netting in the 76th minute.
AmaTuks were struggling to make their way over the halfway line, though it did not appear to trouble the home coach, who looked on happily as the University outfit kept their highly-fancied Gauteng neighbours at bay.
Kermit Erasmus then blazed wide in the 83rd minute after picking up on a good pass from the Pirates midfield, but failed to keep his shot down as the ball sailed high and wide of the mark.
Just when Pirates had a chance of their own at the other end of the field, Tuks silenced the crowd as Mosadi slotted home one of the few opportunities for the host outfit.
Mosadi received a ball over the top, sprinted to the ball and beat an advancing Senzo Meyiwa to the ball, before chipping over the goalkeeper's head and into the back of the net, as a shock looked on the cards.
The goal was enough to see out the result, lifting Tuks to a crucial three-pointer, which moves them up to 10th in the league standings. – Sapa