Orlando Pirates are the 2010/11 Absa Premiership champions, defeating Golden Arrows 2-1 at Orlando Stadium to leapfrog Ajax Cape Town, who could only draw 2-2 at home to Maritzburg United.
|Orlando Pirates © Backpagepix
Goals from Bongani Ndulula and Collins Mbesuma had left the game in Soweto locked at 1-1 until Isaac Chansa scored a superb late goal to hand Pirates the win and the championship glory.
Both Pirates and Ajax finished on 60 points, but the Buccaneers’ better goal difference was enough to hand them top spot in a thrilling finale to an amazing season.
Pirates dominated almost from the first whistle but they were dealt an early blow when winger Dikgang Mabalane had to limp off with a groin injury, though Mark Mayambela proved a worthy replacement for ‘Terminator’.
After creating several decent scoring chances – the best of which saw Thulasizwe Mbuyane denied by a fine save from goalkeeper Helton Da Rocha – Bucs finally broke the deadlock in the 38th minute.
Andile Jali was the architect of the goal, beating a couple of Arrows defenders down the right of the penalty before pulling a great ball back for Bongani Ndulula – the young striker coolly slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to the home side.
However, Pirates’ lead lasted just three minutes. Arrows had hardly threatened at all but from a 41st minute corner kick Collins Mbesuma was allowed a free header and provided a fine finish past Senzo Meyiwa to make it 1-1.
For most of the second half, Pirates struggled to break down the stubborn Arrows defence, but on 84 minutes they finally surged back in front. A corner kick was only half cleared by Arrows and Isaac Chansa unleashed a brilliant long range shot that crashed into the back of the net to make it 2-1.
At the final whistle, the crowd surged past the non-existent security to mob coach Ruud Krol and his players, kicking-off a party in Soweto that will surely go on until the early hours of Sunday morning.
Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Ndulula 38’, Chansa 84’)
Golden Arrows (1) 1 (Mbesuma 41’)
Pirates: (4-4-2) Meyiwa; Jele, Mahamutsa, Johannes, Lekgwathi; Mabalane (Mayambela 25’), Jali, Manyisa, Segolela; Mbuyane (Ngobeni 89’), Ndulula (Chansa 64’)
Arrows: (4-3-3) Da Rocha; Musonda, Sangweni, Masinga, Tom; Shange (Manqana 55’), Duiker, Nkosi; Murakami (Zothwane 82’), Gabuza (Machupu 70’), Mbesuma
Referee: Robert Sithole
Cautions: Jali, Mayambela; Masinga, Musonda, Machupu