Orlando Pirates
Mothibantwa (Kamwendo 46′)
Modise (Chenene 68′)



Competition: Absa Premiership
Date: Sunday, 17 January 2009
Venue: Johannesburg Stadium
Kick-off: 18h30

Orlando Pirates moved into the third spot on the Absa Premiership log thanks to beating Golden Arrows 1-0 on Saturday evening at the Johannesburg Stadium. The only goal was scored by Lucas Thwala from the penalty spot.

Both teams did not want to concentrate fully on the attack from the outset, which, from Pirates’ point of view, was understandable, as Arrows are deadly on the counter-attack. It resulted, however, in no team creating a goal scoring opportunity in the opening ten minutes.

The first chance arrived in the 12th minute when a scorching shot from Lebogang Mothibantwa from outside the box just flew wide to the right post of the Arrows goal. The battle for possession was fiercely fought, which resulted, for example, in referee Jerome Damon handing out two yellow cards inside 15 minutes of play, one to Pirates’ Katlego Mashego and the other for Arrows’ Siyabonga Sangweni.

Another shot from outside the box, this time the recently signed Mashego, in the 23rd minute ended at the post with Arrows goalkeeper Helton da Rocha just getting a hand to the ball. Pirates, however, started to slightly dominate the midfield towards the second half of the first half with the Buccaneers’ Benson Mhlongo and Mothibantwa having slightly the upper hand over Abafana Bes’thende’s Ntlanta Zothwane and Thanduyise Khuboni.

But Pirates were not helped by the rather lacklustre performances of their main players, Teko Modise and Dikgang Mabalane, who were not in the game during the first half. Arrows striker Richard Henyekane, on the other hand, looked dangerous every time he got the ball close to the Pirates goal.

Buccaneers coach Ruud Krol decided to make a change at half-time, bringing on the more offensive minded Malawian midfielder Joseph Kamwendo for the more defensive oriented Mothibantwa.

Mashego created a penalty for Pirates five minutes into the second half when he was clumsily brought down in the box by Arrows’ Kagiso Senamela. Buccaneers defender Thwala made no mistake from the penalty spot, coolly slotting home his fifth league goal of the season.

That’s when Abafana Bes’thende coach Manqoba Mngqithi decided to come with a double substitution, bringing on Francis Kombe (for Zothwane) and Musa Bilankulu (for Khuboni) to try and change the game to his side’s advantage.

However, Pirates now really started to dominate the game after having boosted their confidence with the game’s opening goal. Substitute Kamwendo was influential in midfield and he nearly scored in the 60th minute, but his long range shot went just wide of goal.

Arrows tried to get back into the game, but they clearly missed their inspirational captain Kagisho Dikgacoi in midfield, as he was suspended. Also, Pirates’ centre-backs Lehlohonolo Seema and Thwala kept their opponent’s main attacking threat, Henyekane, quiet in the second half.

But Henyekane did slip behind the Pirates defence in the 79th minute when his attempt to score was well blocked by keeper Moeneeb Josephs. Accordingly, however, the ball rolled to the right side of the box with Henyekane and Josephs both going for the ball with the Buccaneers keeper bringing Henyekane down, somewhat unluckily. Referee Damon immediately pointed to the penalty spot. But Josephs seemed to have a lucky bird on his crossbar as substitute Bilankulu shot the penalty high over the bar.

As a result of the penalty miss, Josephs kept a clean sheet. Pirates now move into third position on the Absa Premiership on 26 points, four points behind log leaders Ajax Cape Town. Arrows drop to fourth position, having one point less than the Buccaneers. Pirates defender Thwala was selected as the Absa Premiership Man of the Match.

Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Thwala 51′)
Golden Arrows 0

Golden Arrows
Da Rocha
Khuboni (Bilankulu 56′)
Zothwane (Kombe 55′)
Manqana (Mshengu 66′)

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