Cape Town – The Buccaneers came out guns blazing to inflict a 3-0 defeat over hitherto unbeaten Stellenbosch FC, in their DStv Premiership clash at a windy Danie Craven Stadium, on Wednesday evening, after leading 2-0 at the break.
Orlando Pirates came into the match with a solitary win in their last seven matches. However, Pirates, with a strong wind at their backs, found their scoring touch with Namibian international Deon Hotto producing a livewire performance on the left wing. In the process, Pirates inflicted the season's first defeat for the Winelands team, who will remain in the second position on the standings. Pirates will find themselves in seventh place.
The fast-paced attacks made for a brisk start, and Pirates were the more penetrative down the left flank, where winger Hotto kept the opposition's defence on their toes. He instigated several sorties, deep into the Stellenbosch half and served notice that a breakthrough was imminent.
Given Pirates' high press, Stellenbosch's early attacking options came via counter-attacks which they mounted with quick interchanges, mostly down the middle. However, they did not create scoring opportunities and often turned over possession in the opposition goalmouth.
After Stellenbosch survived two early scares, Pirates' pressure finally took its toll 20 minutes into the half with two scores in as many minutes. First midfielder Collins Makgaka scored after Hotto headed the ball down in his path, plumb in front of the opposition goals. Stellies goalkeeper Sage Stephens tried in vain to stop the ball with an outstretched leg.
The Pirates substitutes bench were still jumping up and down when Hotto added goal No 2, two minutes later. Central defender Alan Robertson tried to take the ball up from his penalty area, but Hotto took him by surprise and dispossessed him and scored the easiest of goals by slipping the ball wide of Stephens.
Goal No 3 looked a distinct possibility five minutes later, but Hotto hashed his attempt from a free-kick about two metres outside the Stellenbosch penalty area. His parting shot flew wastefully high over the crossbar.
Hotto made amends for this lapse three minutes into the second half when he ran on to a defence-splitting pass from Makgaka to score his second goal, as Stellenbosch central again sprung a leak.
After three goals, Pirates held their matchwinning lead intact to come away with a rare haul of three match points.
On Thursday morning, Pirates will fly out to Liberia for the CAF Confederation Cup preliminary round match against LPRC Oilers on Sunday.
Meanwhile, at the Peter Mokaba Stadium, in Polokwane, hosts Marumo Gallants were held to a goalless draw by 10-man Maritzburg United, who lost the services of Zukile Kewuti who was red-carded early in the second half.