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Football | Absa Premiership

Bongani Ndulula © Backpagepix

Bester stunner puts Pirates on top



An injury-time stunner from Rudolf Bester handed Orlando Pirates a crucial 2-1 win over Jomo Cosmos, sending the hosts three points clear at the top of the Premiership table at Orlando Stadium on Monday night.

Two goals in the first half set up an intriguing encounter, but for all their domination, Pirates could not convert any of their chances, until the referee's optional time.

Facing the prospect of dropped points at home, Bester stepped up with a sensational goal from 25 metres out that gave Cosmos goalkeeper Avril Phali no chance.

The Buccaneers climbed to the top of the standings with 46 points from 24 games.

Mamelodi Sundowns, three points behind in second place, held a game in hand and were set to face Black Leopards in Polokwane on Wednesday night.

The home side opened the scoring early, as Bongane Ndulula capitalised on some shaky defence and stole the ball from Ofusu Appiah, making no mistake with his finish from close range to put Pirates 1-0 ahead.

The Buccaneers began to exert their authority on the game, and the visitors had to rely on scraps of possession.

Pirates were quick on attack and enjoyed more territory, while Cosmos looked clueless when they moved forward.

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That was until a 25th minute thunderbolt against the run of play saw Cosmos level the scores when Siyabonga Nhlapho reeled off a stunner from almost 30 metres out that rocketed into the top left corner of the net.

Heading into halftime, Pirates went in desperate search of a goal, and in the 44th minute a surge upfield saw Thabo Matlaba unleash a powerful shot on goal, but Phali produced a good save.

Daine Klate was introduced on the hour mark for Tlou Segolela, with Pirates coach Augusto Palacios looking for something different on attack as they went in search of the winner.

The home team's frustration was evident as Oupa Manyisa opted not to take the ball into the box or cross from long range, with Pirates moving forward, and his shot ended 30 rows into the crowd with 24 minutes left.

Six minutes later, Klaite took a corner from the left and found the head of Thulasizwe Mbuyane, running into space at the near post, but his effort sailed just wide of goal.

Lucky Lekgwathi spurned a straight-forward chance in the 79th minute.

From another Klate corner the ball found its way to the far post and the outstretched foot of Lekgwathi could not keep the ball down as he missed the target.

Bester, however, struck in the dying stages, leaving Cosmos firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.

For Cosmos, they remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Ndulula 4’, Bester 92’)

Jomo Cosmos (1) 1 (Nlapho 24’)

Teams:

Pirates: Meyiwa; Matlaba, Sangweni, Nzunga, Lekgwathi, Segolela (Klate 60’), Manyisa, Mbuyane (Mabalane 80’), Jali, Rantie, Ndulula (Bester 73’)

Cosmos: Phali; Appiah, Berthe, Samb, Loke, Tukane (Pila 72’), Rusike (Burds 79’), Nhlapho, Shitolo, Meiring (Nontshinga 58’), Mkhwanazi

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