Orlando Pirates will once again return from Mbombela Stadium with their tail between their legs after being embarrassed 3-0 by SuperSport United on Wednesday night in a venue they dread visiting, especially if their opponents are Matsatsantsa a Pitori.
A brace by Bradley Grobler, before Ghampani Lungu put the final nail in the coffin, buried the Buccaneers at the same stadium where SuperSport murdered them 6-1.
Matsatsantsa toyed with Pirates, who they have only lost to once in their last 13 meetings.
Pirates attacked SuperSport from the onset, looking to unsettle a team that have troubled them in the past, and even gave them sleepless nights.
Pirates coach Micho Sredojevic spoke about exorcising the ghosts of that 6-1 drubbing.
That didn’t happen, as instead, SuperSport piled on the pressure by producing another night Pirates won’t forget anytime soon.
Once Matsatsantsa settled, they controlled this fast-paced contest. They gave as much as they got, attacking Pirates with energy and confidence.
SuperSport’s momentum was broken by Wayne Sandilands being ordered to change his light blue kit that was close to the bright blue colours of the hosts.
Dean Furman protested as his team was in the ascendancy when Sandilands’ kit-change paused play.
SuperSport continued where they left off when the Pirates goalkeeper returned wearing a lime kit.
Grobler made Pirates see his true colours with a poacher’s finish after some sloppy defending from Thabiso Monyane.
The young fullback played a lazy header to Sandilands, which Grobler stole to give Matsatsantsa the lead and rattle Pirates’ mental resolve, as it looked like it would be another night where they would huff and puff, only for SuperSport to end up winning.
Sipho Mbule pulled the strings for the hosts, doing what his coach Kaitano Tembo and captain Furman challenged him to do – make the most of his chance and carry the team after the departure of the experienced Reneilwe Letsholonyane.
Pirates veteran Happy Jele gave his teammates some stern words before going into the change room at halftime, with the captain incensed as his team looked to go another year without beating SuperSport in their own backyard – something they last did in 2004.
Pirates made a double switch at the start of the second half, taking off the defensive pair of Musa Nyatama and Alfred Ndengane for the more offensive Justin Shonga and Thembinkosi Lorch.
But it was SuperSport who found the back of the net. Grobler pounced on a ball that bobbled in Pirates’ box, with no one clearing it.
Before they recovered from the shock, Lungu made it three to seal SuperSport’s first three points this season, after they lost their opening match to Mamelodi Sundowns.
Pirates were made to chase shadows by their bogey side.
SuperSport played with such confidence that even their defenders were able to gingerly pass the ball in their own box, despite the visitors fighting to claw their way back into the match.
Ronwen Williams was hardly tested in SuperSport’s goal, with most of the action happening on the Buccaneers’ half of the pitch.
Grobler was given a warm embrace by his teammates when he was substituted, finishing the match with a brace and an assist.
Grobler, just like Mbombela Stadium, continued to torment Pirates, who were dealt a heavy blow by this morale-snatching defeat.