Orlando Pirates beat University of Pretoria 1-0 at the Tuks Stadium in a dreary Absa Premiership encounter on Saturday. This was a must win encounter for both sides as they both looked to climb the ladder. Despite playing good football, Amabhakabhaka found themselves in unfamiliar territory on the log lately and they took to the field
knowing a win against AmaTuks would send them into the top eight. The Sea Robbers started like a house on fire and created one chance after another.
The best chance of the opening exchanges fell to Mpho Makola in the 13th minute after being played in by Sifiso Myeni, but the former struck the crossbar. Eric Tinkler’s team led from start to end but failed to find a goal. In the 41st minute Thamsanqa Gabuza caught Washington Arubi off guard but the keeper showed some good reflexes to keep the scores level at the break.
Tuks continued to flirt with danger but remained unpunished heading to the hour mark thanks to Pirates’ bluntness in front of goal. The visitors were kept on the back foot the entire match but had snippets of joy behind enemy lines. In the 66th minute, Shaun Bartlett’s boys found space on the counter with Thabo Mnyamana at the end of it and he opted to send his attempt well off target.
In the 69th minute, Thabo Matlaba made a brilliant run from the left flank and unleashed a shot in anger past Arubi to give the Buccaneers a 1-0 lead. Lacklustre Tuks were revived by being on the back foot and tried to claw their way back into the match with 20 minutes left to play. The hosts had a handful of chances to steal a point but their fate was determined by their lack of urgency inside the box.
Lack of concentration by Ezikamagebhula’s defence almost saw the home side pulling one back in the dying minutes of the match. However 1-0 is how things ended after 90 minutes of play. The victory sends the Soweto giants outfit to seventh spot on the log.
Bartlett’s battlers remain languishing at the wrong end of the table.
Photo credit: Nick Lourens