Orlando Pirates beat Free State Stars 1-0 in a one-sided Absa Premiership encounter at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night. The Sea Robbers looked the sharpest of the two sides in the early exchanges. In the fifth minute Oupa Manyisa combined with Kermit Erasmus and the latter blasted the ball against the keeper.
The Buccaneers dominated proceedings but were offered little space to penetrate through Stars’ defence forcing Vladimir Vermezovic’s men to shoot from range. Khethokwakhe Masuku came close to putting his side in front on the half hour mark but his effort was punched away from danger by debutant Glenn Verbauwhede. Ea Lla Koto continued to flirt with danger and were almost punished in the 34th minute when Pirates played a quick one-two only for Daine Klate’s shot to be blocked inside the area.
The hosts kept pushing forward one shot at a time but Verbauwhede refused to be beaten forcing a 0-0 scoreline at the break. Three minutes after the restart Mpho Makola found himself unmarked inside the area and tried to lob the ball past Verbauwhede but the shot stopper produced yet another superb save to keep Stars in the game. Manyisa had his long range attempt saved in the 58th minute as Klate failed to feast on a rebound and the lacklustre Ea Lla Koto remained unpunished at the hour mark.
Senzo Meyiwa was brought into action in the 68th minute following a defensive error but he was alert to the danger. Klate unleashed a venomous half volley to give Vermezovic’s troops a well deserved lead in the 72nd minute, putting to good use a well timed Patrick Phungwayo cross. One goal was all that it took to settle the match despite late attempts from Stars to try and steal a point.