SIFISO Myeni snatched a late 1-0 win for Orlando Pirates as they defeated Bidvest Wits at the Mbombela Stadium in their Absa Premiership fixture on Saturday evening to keep their title aspirations alive.
The Clever Boys had the better of the opportunities throughout the game, but it was Pirates who grabbed it in the 10th minute of stoppage time after Emile Baron was taken off due to injury.
Wits dominated much of the game, but a combination of wasted chances and a great display by Senzo Meyiwa kept Wits at bay.
In order to keep their slim title aspirations alive, Roger de Sa knew his men had to come away with nothing less than a victory over a Bidvest Wits side who were pushing for a top four finish.
Pirates haven’t had it easy of late; six games without a win as well as a growing casualty list, and there were fears that another player was to be added to that list when Mpho Makola suffered a heavy knock in the opening minutes of the fixture.
But after being stretchered off and having received some medical attention, Makola seemed fine to continue.
Nervy moments followed just minutes later when Benni McCarthy when down in the box when Emile Baron came charging off his line. The referee did well not to give the penalty as replays showed it was a dive by the striker.
Pirates were putting out a rather toothless display in the opening half of the first 45 and they mildly threatened when Tlou Segolela beat both his markers to hit a cross-cum-shot in the 24th minute of play. However, with no one there to follow up on his movement, it was easy pickings for Baron.
The Wits shot-stopper was then made to stretch, just ten minutes later, when Segolela continued to be Pirates’ most threatening player as he cut inside and fired an effort from the edge of the area, however, it flew past the far post.
As the game started to progress, more end-to-end football was being played and Wits were denied going 1-0 up when Meyiwa got a finger to Papy Faty’s shot from outside the box to direct it around the post.
Then, Bryce Moon squandered the perfect opportunity to put his side ahead at the break, following some great one touch passing across the front of the box, but the former Ajax player flashed his effort out at the near post.
Wits got the second half going in the same way in which they finished the first half; on the front foot.
Still, despite all their possession, they wasted a flurry of chances in front of goal with Senzo Meyiwa also stepping up and making a handful of impressive saves.
Happy Jele didn’t add to Pirates’ cause for the remainder of the campaign as he received his fourth booking, ruling him out of their next match against Chippa United.
It was Makola’s turn to waste a great opportunity to change the face of the game when he did well to run into the box, with just 15 minutes to go, and work his way to the byline. But he spent too much time on the ball and struck his effort straight at Baron.
Pirates were wrongly denied a penalty in the stoppage of the game, after Ndumiso Mabela was brought down in the box.
Baron was injured in that challenge, with what looked like a broken leg, and he was substituted by the young Jethrin Barr, who was making his debut.
However, Pirates got their own back as Sifiso Myeni came on and struck a ball into the back of the net following some scrappy defending.
Bidvest Wits 0
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Myeni 90+9’)
Bidvest Wits: Baron (Barr 94’), Gumede, Moon (Timm 83’), Nengomasha, Vilakazi, Sweswe, Chapman (Kadi 71’), Faty, Mashaba, Sibande, Mngomezulu
Orlando Pirates: Meyiwa, Lekgwathi, Jele, Phungwayo, Gcaba, Masalesa, Makola (Mabena 87’), Bester (Myeni 57’), Segolela (Masuku 65’), Okonkwo, McCarthy.
Elsewhere Free State Stars cruised back to their winning ways with a 2-1 victory at home to AmaZulu in another league match played at Goble Park this afternoon. The victory sees Ea Lla Koto occupies the 8th position on the log.
In the Western Cape, the Cape derby Ajax Cape Town and Chippa United at the Phillipi Stadium ended in a 1-1 draw.
The draw see Black Leopards dropping to the 15th position with 23 points after they lost 3-1 to Pretoria University earlier in the afternoon in Polokwane while the the Urban Warriors occupy the 14th position with 24 points. In another match Bloemfontein Celtic added to Mamelodi Sundowns’ woes with a 1-0 drubbing at the Pilditch Stadium in Tshwane. The victory has placed Masokolara to the 6th position with 37 points after 27 matcheswhile Sundowns remain on the 11th position with 29 points from 26 matches.-Backpage TXT