Clinical Birds sink Pirates
Moroka Swallows continued their early-season goal-scoring spree with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Absa Premiership champions Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
Strikes from Bennett Chenene, Mpho Maleka and Katlego Mashego saw the Birds claim their first win over their Soweto rivals since 2008/09 and rack up three goals in a game for the fourth successive time across all competitions.
For the Buccaneers, the result is a continuation of their stuttering form at the beginning of the season and a second successive crushing home defeat after losing by the same score to SuperSport United in the MTN8 last weekend.
They have failed to score in four successive league and cup matches, and their finishing against the Birds was simply woeful, though stand-in goalkeeper Aubrey Mathibe deserves plenty of credit for pulling off a string of excellent saves.
Both teams attacked strongly from the early stages, with Swallows forcing goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa into a good save on five minutes when a Lerato Chabangu free kick threatened to drift into the back of the net.
Two minutes later Oupa Manyisa provided a superb through-ball to put Sifiso Myeni in on goal, but the winger hesitated just long enough to allow Shere Lekgothoane to get back and make a goal-saving challenge.
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Former Buccaneer Bennett Chenene should have opened the scoring in the 19th minute, only to blaze a volley off target, but just two minutes later he combined superbly with Siyabonga Nomvethe before stabbing a low shot into the net via the inside of the post to make it 1-0 to the Birds.
Just past the half hour mark Pirates through they had drawn level when a point-blank header from Collins Mbesuma was only half-saved by Mathibe, but referee Phillip Tinyani waved play-on. Television replays showed the ball hadn’t crossed the goal line.
The Birds were dealt a major blow at the same time when Nomvethe limped off after twisting his ankle, forcing coach Zeca Marques to replace his ace goal-scorer with substitute Mpho Maleka.
Yet the replacement got his name onto the score sheet six minutes into the second half, firing the ball into the corner of the net after a brilliant turn and pass in the ‘D’ of Pirates’ box from Chabangu; 2-0 Swallows.
Pirates responded by using all three substitutions around the hour mark, and Daine Klate – one of the trio withdrawn – had two great chances in the 58th minute but on both occasions he saw his efforts saved by Mathibe.
Any hope Bucs had of mounting a comeback was extinguished when another former player, Katlego Mashego, scored within seconds of coming on as a sub, coolly controlling the ball in the box before turning and stabbing home another nail in the home side’s coffin.
Orlando Pirates 0
Moroka Swallows (1) 3 (Chenene 21’, Maleka 51’, Mashego 65’)
Pirates: Meyiwa, Matlaba, Lekgwathi (Moholo 57’), Sangweni, Phungwayo, Myeni, Jali (Okonkwo 57’), Manyisa, Klate (Segolela 60’), Mbuyane, Mbesuma
Swallows: Mathibe, Isaacs, Hendricks, Mungomeni, Lekgothoane, Obada (Khumalo 81’), Nergadze, Tsutsulupa (Mashego 65’), Chabangu, Chenene, Nomvethe (Maleka 35’)