Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates romped to a 3-0 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns in their Premiership clash at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Wednesday night.
Pirates striker Kermit Erasmus instigated his side's first Premiership win of the season with cunning, chipped lob-shot goals in the 13th and 62 minutes that made the score 2-0 in this high-profiled match and left goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene stranded in-no-man's land.
Former Kaizer Chiefs striker Lehlohonolo Majoro came onto the field as a substitute midway through the second period and completed the scoring with a thunderous left-footed drive from the edge of the penalty area in the 75th minute.
It was a curious outcome in more ways than one, with frustrated and declining PSL champions Sundowns having a great many scoring opportunities than the Buccaneers.
Sundowns hit the woodwork twice in the first half through brilliant individual efforts from Hlompho Kekana and a ball-manipulating Surprise Moriri and might easily have gone into the interval in front instead of trailing by a goal.
Pirates' smash-and-grab success from telling counter-attacks meant that all last six matches between these intense PSL rivals have ended with the away side winning on each occasion Ä four times in favour of the Buccaneers and two wins for Sundowns.
A Pirates' success was soured ultimately when Bafana Bafana
defender Thabo Matlaba was red-carded after the scheduled 90
minutes for recklessly stamping all over a spread-eagled opponent.
The match had earlier been delayed for 15 minutes from the 7.30pm kick-off because a substantial segment of the crowd were still battling to make their way into the stadium and match officials felt starting on time could have precipitated a safety factor.
Before the game started officials of the two clubs disputed the availability of a player in the Sundowns line-up, with Pirates threatening to lodge a complaint before the matter was seemingly settled.
Nothing seemed to go right for Sundowns in the end, with Senzo Mayiwa bringing off a sensational 72nd minute save in the Pirates' goal as the home side continued their persistent, but ultimately futile assault on the Buccaneers' goal.
The topsy-turvy pattern of play continued right until the end and when Pirates' forged onto the attack again in the 85th minute from a speedy counter-attack, Majoro hesitated in making his final shot from close range and squandered an opportunity of scoring for a second time.
Sundowns slipped from seventh in the log to 10th position, while Pirates made amends for a shaky start to the League programme by climbing from 13th place to number eight in the log. – Sapa