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Football | Absa Premiership

Pirates lose season opener



AmaZulu brought Orlando Pirates back to earth with a famous 1-0 win at the FNB Stadium on Thursday night in their first Absa Premiership match of the season.

Bongani Ndulula got the only goal of the game over Pirates, who came into the match after a famous 3-0 win over Al Ahly at the weekend.

The first real shot and threat of the match came in the third minute when Kermit Erasmus unleashed a shot from long range that caught new AmaZulu ‘keeper Aubrey Mathibe by surprise, but he parried it away for a corner.

Pirates were relentless in attack early on and 10 minutes on from that Erasmus chance newcomer William Thwala sent in a sweet cross from the right flank, but the ball skinned the top of Happy Jele, who missed the header from close range with only the ‘keeper to beat.

It would be the visitors, though, who stunned the marginal home crowd in the 31st minute through a familiar face. Former Pirates striker Ndulula took on three defenders and sweetly picked his spot and slotted past Bucs keeper Senzo Meyiwa for a lovely individual goal.

Eleven minutes into the second half, Erasmus cracked a stunning left footed shot which Mathibe palmed away, but Thwala miscued the rebound ball from close range as the pressure of being on debut for the mighty Bucs began to show.

On the hour mark Pirates should have scored when Erasmus failed to capitalise on a mistake at the back from AmaZulu. The former SuperSport United striker saw his effort saved by Mathibe, who he was one-on-one with.

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Andile Jali should have equalised with only two minutes remaining in the match, the midfielder was at the end of a nice build up, but hurried his shot from close range as he blasted it over the bar with the ‘keeper at his mercy.

Later on with seconds remaining, Thabo Matlaba nearly broke AmaZulu hearts as he crept in at the back post, but his shot from just six-yards out was spectacularly saved by the excellent Mathibe again as Usuthu hung on for a famous win.

Orlando Pirates 0

AmaZulu (1) 1 (Ndulula 31’)

Teams:

Orlando Pirates: Meyiwa, Mahamutsa, Matlaba, Jele, Gcaba, Twala (Malongoane 72’), Manyisa, Jali, Myeni (Mabena 86’), Mbesuma (Bacela 68’), Erasmus

AmaZulu: Mathibe, Mwedihanga, Teyise, Mvalo, Van Heerden, Madondo, Madubanya, Manqana, Zondi (A Dlamini 58’), G Dlamini (Mthiyane 70’), Ndulula (Ngcobo 80‘)

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