Pirates romp to 4-0 win over Royal AM

Thabiso Sesame of Orlando Pirates swoops in to retain possession against Ayabulela Maxwell of Royal AM during their DStv Premiership clash yesterday. | BackpagePix

Thabiso Sesame of Orlando Pirates swoops in to retain possession against Ayabulela Maxwell of Royal AM during their DStv Premiership clash yesterday. | BackpagePix

Published Apr 28, 2024





Maswanganyi 29-pen, Mbatha 56, Mofokeng 74, Dlamini 82

Orlando Pirates are not giving up on a second-place finish in the DStv Premiership without a fight after winning their third game in a row yesterday afternoon.

Pirates hammered Royal AM 4-0 at a packed Harry Gwala Stadium to remain third on the log and move three points behind the second-placed Stellenbosch.

Thalente Mbatha of Orlando Pirates celebrates after scoring the Bucs’ second goal against Royal AM at Harry Gwala Stadium. | BackpagePix

After Stellenbosch mauled Polokwane City 5-0 on Saturday, Pirates needed to win yesterday in Pietermaritzburg if they were to keep their top-two hopes alive.

They heeded that call as they took the lead before the half-hour mark as Patrick Maswanganyi slotted home a penalty after he had been fouled. The decision from referee Christopher Kistoor was questionable, however, as replays showed that Maswanganyi was fouled outside the box.

Unsure of the decision, he consulted with his assistant, who incredibly nodded that it was indeed a penalty. Royal AM will feel hard done by.

It was a lifeline for the Sea Robbers as Royal were in the driver’s seat before that, looking as though they’d score with every foray into the final third.

Their early dominance was arguably compounded by Pirates missing some key players, as Sipho Chaine, Deon Hotto and Miguel Timm were all suspended. Captain Innocent Maela also struggled on his comeback – as Hotto’s replacement – as he was often exposed by Royal’s strikers.

Monnapule Saleng should have also given Pirates the lead as he did well to beat the offside trap before hoofing his shot into the air, failing to beat goalkeeper Mondli Mpoto.

Mpoto’s opposite number Melusi Buthelezi, who was standing in for Chaine, also nearly gifted Thwihli Thwahla the opening goal after he handled the ball outside his area while trying to throw it to a teammate.

After Kistoor awarded the free kick, striker Sedwyn George took the responsibility before rattling his shot against the crossbar. It would have been some goal from the 32-year-old.

His Pireates rival Tshegofatso Mabas came into this game high on confidence as he had scored eight goals in the last 11 games, and was level with Mamelodi Sundowns’ Lucas Ribeiro on 11 league goals.

Mabasa was expected to revive himself in the second half, and possibly close in on the league’s top goalscorer Iqraam Rayners, who scored all five goals for Stellenbosch on Saturday to take his total to 13. But it wasn’t to be. Instead, Maswanganyi stole the spotlight as he created an assist for Thalente Mbatha’s goal – and Pirates’ second.

Mswanganyi cut the lines and put Mbatha through on goal. Mbatha waited for Mpoto to commit before placing his effort inside the far post.

Mbatha’s goal was his second in the league, and it could have sealed his permanent deal at Pirates having joined on loan from SuperSport United in January. It was turning into a good day at the office for the Buccaneers, when Relebohile Mofokeng scored Pirates’ third goal of the afternoon, after being teed up by substitute Kabelo Dlamini.

Dlamini didn’t end there. He took the ‘impact player’ tag to another level as he scored the Bucs’ fourth goal.

Dlamini showed a great poacher’s instinct as he realised that Mpoto was way off his line before placing a shot into the far post to put the Bucs into cruise mode. And that’s how things ended.

Pirates will be eager to win their fourth game in row – and third in the league – when they visit Cape Town City on Wednesday night.