|Luis Boa Morte © Gallo Images
Three goals from Orlando Pirates - scored by Siyabonga Sangweni, substitutes Tokelo Rantie and Benni McCarthy - in the second half saw the Buccaneers come from a goal behind to beat Platinum Stars 4-3 in an Absa Premiership match at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Wednesday night.
Pirates first goal on the night, which gave them the lead, was an own goal from Enocent Mkhabela. Platinum Stars found the back of the net through Sibusiso Msomi, Mduduzi Nyanda and Lucas Thwala.
It was an enticing opening 45 minutes as both sides looked to attack from the first whistle which resulted in a quick start.
Consequently, in only the fourth minute we witnessed our first chance on goal.
Some good work down the left flank by Dikgang Mabalane saw him beating his marker before supplying a low cross into the box which was spilled by Siyabonga Mpontshane, straight into the path of Isaac Chansa, but he fired over from six-yards out with an empty net at his mercy.
Three minutes later and it was the chance of Stars to attack, but they were gifted their goal scoring opportunity because of some sloppy defending by the Buccaneers.
A cross from the left by Elias Ngwepe saw the ball find its way to an open Mduduzi Nyanda who was allowed to get a shot on goal from six-yards out, but Moneeb Josephs made a great close range save, diving to his right to palm the ball away from danger.
After the frantic start the game settled down a bit as both teams tried to take control of the midfield battle.
And Stars were beginning to gain the ascendancy using both Thuso Phala and Lindokuhle Mbatha to attack down the flanks as they caused problems for the Pirates defence.
In the 29th minute a great counter-attack by Owen da Gama’s men saw Phala play Ngwepe into space down the left.
The Stars defender drove towards the by-line and produced a pin-point low cut-back to find an unmarked Nyanda 12-yards out from goal. The attacking midfielder, however, squandered the chance as he tried to side-foot the ball home, but Josephs made a great save.
The rebound then fell to Ngwepe on the left and again he crossed the ball to the back post to find an unmarked Mbatha, but he too saw his ten-yard shot acrobatically saved by the Buccaneers shot-stopper.
Two minutes later and Stars were made to pay for their glaring misses as they ironically punished themselves as Enocent Mkhabela headed home an own goal to give Pirates the lead while trying to defend a corner-kick, 1-0.
The home side, though, quickly hit back, finding the equalising goal in the 35th minute.
A scramble in the Pirates box saw Henrico Botes lay the ball back for an unmarked Sibusiso Msomi who expertly fired the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net from 22-yards out, 1-1.
That was the way the half ended as both sides looked happy to hear the half time whistle of this fast paced game.
At the start of the second half the Buccaneers began to take control of the match as Stars looked content to sit back in defence and hit on the counter-attack.
Pirates pushed forward but could not break down a resolute Dikwena defence.
Then in the 68th minute, somewhat against the run of play, the home side took the lead.
Nyanda picked up the ball on the edge of the box and took on Bheki Nzunga, beating the Pirates defender for pace before firing the ball across the face of goal and into the bottom right-hand corner of the net from eight-yards out, 2-1.
Eight minutes later, though, and Pirates found the equaliser when Siyabonga Sangweni rose above the Stars defence to powerfully head home a right-wing cross from Mabalane, 2-2.
In the 79th minute it must have seemed like a sense of déjà vu for Da Gama and his men because in a matter of three minutes his side went from being a goal up to being a goal down after substitute Tokelo Rantie finished off a good passing movement in clinical style from ten-yards out, 3-2.
Four minutes from time and another substitute in Benni McCarthy sealed victory for the Buccaneers with their fourth goal of the game – McCarthy showing his strength to head home another Mabalane cross from the right, 4-2.
Stars did find a consolation goal in the 93rd minute as Lucas Thwala scored Dikwena’s third goal, latching onto a corner-kick at the back post and heading the ball home from two-yards out, 4-3.
The win for Pirates sees them up to fourth on the table while Platinum Stars find themselves in real trouble at the wrong end of the log.
Platinum Stars (1) 3 (Msomi 35’, Nyanda 68’, Thwala 93’)
Orlando Pirates (1) 4 (Mkhabela 31’ OG, Sangweni 76’, Rantie 79’, McCarthy 86’)
Stars: Mpontshane – Semenya, Sambu, Moloto, Ngwepe – Nyanda (Thwala 77’), Mkhabela, Phala, Msomi, Mbatha (Malokase 85’) – Botes (Paulse 65’)
Pirates: Josephs - Cloete, Sangweni, Lekgwathi, Nzunga – Chansa (Segolela 62’), Ntshumayelo, Manyisa, Mabalane – Boa Morte (Rantie 72’), Mbuyane (McCarthy 74’)