SuperSport United capitalised on Orlando Pirates’ misfortunes at the Mbombela Stadium on Wednesday night with a 1-0 Premiership win.
The victory sees SuperSport move to fourth position with 32 points after three consecutive wins.
The Buccaneers, who have claimed only two points from their last three league outings, remain third with 33 points, four behind Premiership pace-setters Wits.
In a high-octane encounter in Mpumalanga on Wednesday, Clayton Daniels scored for SuperSport in the 65th minute.
Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic was, meanwhile, left wondering how his team went home empty-handed after they had three goals ruled offside – not to mention a penalty miss from captain Happy Jele 15 minutes from time.
Although the Tshwane team dominated the first half goal-scoring chances, it could have been a different story had Bucs not had a fifth-minute goal disallowed, after Musa Nyatama had lobbed Ronwen Williams, only for the offside flag to go up in a decision which replays suggested was incorrect.
From that point onwards, the Soweto side lacked rhythm in their first-half play.
It was Matsatsantsa who were a continuous threat, starting in the 10th minute when a quick break up-field ended with Aubrey Modiba putting Siyabonga Nhlapo in on goal – but his shot lacked conviction, and Bucs keeper Wayne Sandilands made a good save.
Sandilands was at it again on 25 minutes, pulling off a wonderful stop as he clawed a powerful header from Daniels off the goal-line.
As Pirates tried unsuccessfully to probe for openings, the hosts were looking especially dangerous on the counter-attack.
When Bradley Grobler teed up Mxolisi Macuphu seven minutes before the interval, the former Wits striker should have done much better than his tame effort.
After a disappointing first half from the Buccaneers’ perspective, they began the second half with far more purpose and fluidity in their play.
They had the ball in the net in the 47th minute through Justin Shonga, but the Zambian was correctly flagged offside.
Pirates kept the pressure on as Vincent Pule and Thembinkosi Lorch both had shots saved by Williams, before Shonga thought he had scored from close range with 20 minutes to play, but once more, the goal was ruled offside in what was again the right call.
Williams was certainly the busier keeper in the second half, and he pulled off a stunning save as he got fingertips to Lorch’s vicious strike.
The visitors finally seemed to have found a way back into the game when SuperSport striker Evans Rusike was adjudged to have handled the ball on the very edge of his own area.
Jele stepped up for the 76th-minute penalty, but once more Williams came to his side’s rescue as the blocked the spot-kick, before Shonga wastefully smashed the follow-up into the stands.
It was all Pirates for the final 15 minutes, but apart from another Shonga shot which went marginally wide, there was no real threat to Matsatsantsa’s goal.
African News Agency (ANA)