ORLANDO Pirates rode their luck and beat title rivals Platinum Stars 1-0 in a top-of-the-table Absa Premiership clash at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night.
Stars hit the post twice in the game, but the points were decided by a Daine Klate goal early in the second half in what was a workmanlike display from the defending champions.
Stars had the better of the first half and should have been ahead at the break. There weren’t that many clear-cut chances, but the best fell to the visitors.
Dikwena should have taken the lead on the half-hour mark when Thuso Phala played a perfect pass for Mogakolodi Ngele. The Botswana international glided into the area and with just Senzo Meyiwa to beat, put his shot against the post.
Still, Stars had a chance to score as Patrick Malokase picked up the loose ball, but his effort was wide of goal.
There were other half-chances for the visitors too – Malokase had earlier forced a comfortable save out of Meyiwa, while Ng’ambi fired over the bar from a good position.
Pirates came out a little brighter in the second half and seven minutes in were ahead.
Thandani Ntshumayelo did brilliantly to dribble his way into the penalty area and played a low ball across goal that was side-footed in at the back post by Klate. It was a very good finish from a tight angle from the winger.
There was a nasty incident between Thabo Matlaba and Vuyo Mere soon afterwards. The latter appeared to kick out at the former while on the ground and Matlaba put his hands around the neck of the Stars man.
Both should have seen red, but the match officials, who had been soft in their decision making all night, opted for yellow instead.
Enocent Mkhabela almost found an equaliser for Stars when his header from a corner was rifled towards goal, but Meyiwa had his hands raised already as the ball hit him instead of the keeper making a save, but either way the ball was knocked to safety.
Stars had the lion’s share of possession in the closing stages as Pirates sat back and tried to catch them on the break, with Siphelele Mthembu striking the base of the post with a fine turn on the edge of the area.
But in the end they could not find the opening to claim a point.
Next up for Pirates is a Nedbank Cup Last 32 clash with Free State third-tier side Maluti FET College on Saturday, while Stars are away at NFD outfit Dynamos on Sunday.
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Klate 53)
Platinum Stars 0
Orlando Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele, Gcaba, Lekgwathi, Matlaba, Manyisa, Ntshumayelo, Jali (Okonkwo 90’), Klate (Bester 64’), Myeni, Chinyama (Mbesuma 71’)
Platinum Stars: Mpontshane, Mere, Gumede, Mhlongo, Mpeta, Phala, Mkhabela (Majafa 88’), Ngambi, Malokase (S Mthembu 57’), Ngele, T Mthembu (Msomi 65’)-Backpage TXT