Mxolisi Machupu of Supersport United challenged by Abbubaker Mobara of Orlando Pirates during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Supersport United and Orlando Pirates at the Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit on the 20 February 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Wednesday Feb 20, 2019. 21:30
Orlando Pirates’ long unbeaten run in the Absa Premiership was brought to an end on Wednesday night when they went down 1-0 away to SuperSport United.
Clayton Daniels scored the only goal at the Mbombela Stadium to see Matsatsantsa move into fourth place (just behind their vanquished opponents) and end the Buccaneers’ undefeated run at 15 league matches.
United created the first genuine chance of the match on 11 minutes, with a powerful counter attack seeing Aubrey Modiba tee up Siyabonga Nhlapo with a clear sight of goal, but his low shot was well saved by Wayne Sandilands.
The Pirates goalkeeper was in action again in the 26th minute, pulling off an excellent save to turn away a downward header from Clayton Daniels at a SuperSport corner kick.
The away side tightened up their defence in the remainder of the half to restrict any further chances for United, while they were unable to create any notable openings at the other end, leaving the game locked at 0-0 heading into the interval.
The hosts continued to look the better team in the second half and on 65 minutes their pressure finally paid dividends: another corner kick found the head of Daniels and this time the defender’s effort was too powerful for Sandilands, giving Matsatsantsa the lead.
The Buccaneers thought they had drawn level five minutes later when Justin Shonga provided a neat finish to Musa Nyatama’s through-ball, but the forward was correctly ruled offside. A short while later Thembinkosi Lorch powered a left-footed volley on target, only for Ronwen Williams to make an excellent one-handed save.
Pirates’ growing pressure brought a fortuitous penalty with a quarter hour of regulation time to play, as Evans Rusike allowed a bouncing ball to hit his arm inside the 18-yard area. Pirates captain Happy Jele took on the spot kick but was denied by Williams, before Shonga shot high and wide from the rebound.
That proved to be the Soweto giants’ only clear chance of getting something out of the game, with United able to hold on and secure a third straight win.
The teams will return to league action on Saturday night: SuperSport are at home to Baroka in Tshwane, while Pirates will host AmaZulu in Soweto.
SuperSport United (0) 1 (Daniels 65’)
Orlando Pirates 0
SuperSport: Williams, Nhlapo, Kekana, Daniels, Bhasera, Rusike (Keene 90+2’), Webber, Furman, Modiba (Khumalo 88’), Machupu (Ntshangase 80’), Grobler
Pirates: Sandilands, Mobara (Memela 67’), Jele, Ndengane, Maela, Motshwari, Mlambo (Gabuza 69’), Nyatama (Makola 83’), Lorch, Shonga, Pule