By Zimbeni Mphande
Orlando Pirates beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 at FNB Stadium on Saturday 3 March 2018, in what might have been the most eagerly anticipated Soweto derby in recent ABSA Premiership history. The football clubs squared up once again and what a match is was. It had everything: the skills, the thrills but most importantly it had 4 goals.
The win might be a defining moment in the Buccaneers’ season because it leaves them just four points behind leaders, Sundowns with 7 games to go until the end of the season. There was an added incentive for both teams as they went into the match in 2nd and 3rd position respectively on the log. Kaizer Chiefs were the more dominant side in the early stages with more shots and possession.
Pirates managed to compose themselves and in the 21st minute took advantage of some poor defending from Chiefs to score the opening goal. The goal came curtesy of Thembinkosi Lorch who manoeuvred expertly around a couple of defenders to place the ball in the bottom left-hand corner of a helpless Itumeleng Khune’s goal.
Pirates became complaisant momentarily which lead to Chiefs’ equaliser in the 29th minute. The goal came from a Simpiwe Tshabalala free kick which met the head of Leonardo Castro who got in between two defenders to steer the ball into the back of the net.
The match was then perfectly poised on a knife edge at the halfway mark until Orlando Pirates coach, Milutin Sredojevic introduced substitute Luvuyo Memela at the break who scored with virtually his first touch. His goal put them back in the driver’s seat. From then on it was all Pirates as they seemed to go into overdrive.
After a wave of attacks which were kept out by Khune, Pirates finally put the game to bed in the 74th minute with their third of the afternoon. A through ball down the left-hand side set Ntsikelelo Nyauza free to provide a low cross which was tapped in from close range by Memela for his second of the game.
The Amakhosi tried to find a way back into the match through substitute Bernard Parker but it was too little too late and their efforts were not enough to stop Pirates earning all three points and the bragging rights. The defeat for the Chiefs means that they are four points behind their Soweto rivals and their title hopes now hang in the balance. Football, however, is unpredictable and you just never know.