Pirates sink Chiefs in Soweto derby

Orlando Pirates shrugged off their recent poor form to defeat Soweto rivals Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 in a thrilling Absa Premiership match at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Recent Soweto derbies have failed to live up to the hype, but on this occasion it was an end-to-end affair that could have produced more than four goals.

In the end, strikes from Issa Sarr, Ayanda Gcaba and Thamsanqa Gabuza saw the Buccaneers to a richly deserved victory.

For the Amakhosi, who scored their goal through Eric Mathoho, it was one of the most disappointing performances under coach Steve Komphela, who suffered his first league defeat in his first competitive Soweto derby.

Pirates settled the quicker of the two teams and had the first shots in anger, with Kermit Erasmus shooting wide in the 16th minute before Thabo Rakhale volleyed on target a short while later, but Itumeleng Khune was able to make a comfortable save.

Bucs’ dominance was rewarded with a goal in the 26th minute. A free kick from Mpho Makola to the far post was headed on target by Siyabonga Sangweni – Khune made a fine initial save, but the rebound was turned home by midfielder Sarr.

Pirates were completely dominating the first half but failed to take advantage of a great chance to double their lead in the 34th minute when Thabo Matlaba scuffed his shot from an Erasmus cross.

And the team in black was made to pay in the 44th minute when Chiefs drew level through a well-worked set piece. Siphiwe Tshabalala provided a perfect cross from a free kick on the left and Mathoho arrived unmarked at the back post to power home an equaliser.

It was the Amakhosi’s only attempt at goal in the whole of the first half, but enough to leave the game locked at 1-1 at the interval.

The theme of set-piece goals continued 10 minutes into the second half when Pirates reclaimed the lead from a corner kick. Erasmus’s delivery picked out an unmarked Gcaba in the middle of the box and the defender was able to beat Khune’s left hand with a well-placed header.

As the second half wore on, Bucs looked more likely to add to their advantage and Chiefs needed Khune to make a couple of good saves to keep them in the game.

The keeper made a particularly brilliant improvised save with his feet to keep out a point-blank header from Sarr in the 74th minute.

Just under 10 minutes later the third goal finally arrived for Pirates, with the excellent Erasmus bewitching Mathoho with a superb jinking run before teeing up Gabuza to score with a tap-in.

Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1 (Mathoho 44’)
Orlando Pirates (1) 3 (Sarr 26’, Gcaba 55’, Gabuza 83’)

Chiefs: Khune, Gaxa, Bukenya, Mathoho, Masilela, Tshabalala, Letsholoyane, Katsande, Lebese (Parker 71’), Manqele (Maluleka 78’), Abraw (Mthembu 86’)

Pirates: Mpontshane, Nyauza, Sangweni, Gcaba, Matlaba, Rakhale, Ntshumayelo (Gyimah 84’), Sarr, Makola, Erasmus (Motupa 86’), Gabuza (Majoro 89’)