Pirates back to winning ways against tricky Royal AM

In what was a fast-paced encounter at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, Orlando Pirates came away with three hard-earned points against a spirited Royal AM outfit in the DStv Premiership on Wednesday night.

The game got off to a rapid start, with both teams unafraid to have a go at each other. Pirates saw more of the ball in the first five minutes, as Royal AM were reduced to guarding their penalty area.

However, Royal AM carved out a couple of chances of their own as Andre de Jong and Sedwyn George pressured the Pirates backline.

With 15 minutes on the clock, the game proved to be an end-to-end affair, however, neither side were able to make their chances count. In attempts to inspire his team, Deon Hotto showcased a couple of tricks and flicks, much to the delight of the crowd at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, but the Royal AM defence remained undeterred.

Thwihli Thwahla had success in winning loose balls in the middle of the park, while finding pockets of space in the Bucs low block. As the half-hour mark approached, Royal AM looked the better outfit.

Pirates took the lead in the 34th minute as Deon Hotto capped off a well-constructed passing move in the Royal AM half. The goal did not affect coach Dan Malesela’s side and they immediately searched for an equaliser.

The visitors headed into the break with a slender 1-0 lead, as the referee called time on a frantic 45 minutes of football.

Pirates began the second half as the aggressors and were awarded a corner within the first minute after the break. The Royal AM defence were on high alert and dealt with the early attacks.

With 60 minutes on the clock, the Buccaneers continued to take the game to Royal AM, particularly on their right-hand flank. Thembinkosi Lorch posed a threat to the Royal backline for much of the encounter.

With 15 minutes to go, Pirates kept their foot on the accelerator pedal in search of a second goal. The likes of Vincent Pule, Lorch and Hotto found each other with ease but were unable to breach the home side’s defence.

Malesela’s charges dominated the ball possession statistics with around five minutes to go, while the Buccaneers soaked up the pressure. Jose Riveiro’s team kicked into game management mode in order to defend their lead.

The Royal AM bench expressed their frustration on the touchline, with the attacking players failing to trouble Richard Ofori’s goal area. In calling time on the exciting encounter, Pirates held on to pick up their second win of the DStv Premiership.

Royal AM: (0) 0

Orlando Pirates: (1) 1 (Hotto 34’)

Royal AM:Ngcobo, Mogaila, Nascimento, Manganyi, Matlaba, Kobedi, Phalane (Gamildien 81’), Mahlasela (Ncobeni 86’), de Jong (Ndlovu 70’), George (Machupu 52’), Potsane (Thikazi 70’)

Orlando Pirates:Ofori, Ndah, Sibisi, Maela, Monyane (Shandu 76’), Mosele, Timm (Monate 70’), Hotto (Mako 76’), Lorch, Dlamini (Pule 56’), Lorch, Eva Nga (Peprah 76’)