By Sports Focus Reporter
After a spellbinding finish against Kaizer Chiefs, that saw Orlando Pirates coming back from the dead with an injury time goal to salvaged a one all draw that saw the Buccaneers holding on to their top spot, on the Absa Prmiership table, once more the team fro Soweto did not let their lead slip.
This was after Pirates continued with their unbeaten run when they beat Maritzburg United 3-1 in an Absa Premiership clash played at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night. Tlou Segolela was simply the star of the show, in his first match coming back from suspension.
Goals from Ndumiso Mabena in the first half, and Tlou Segolela and Isaac Chansa in the second half earned Pirates the three points that saw them stretching their lead in the league while Maritzburg United’s goal came from the boot of Rudolph Bester.
Pirates started the game like a house on fire, showing the qualities they needed to be crowned PSL champions come end of the season.
Maritburg United also came into this game with their spirits high after their 1-0 win over Santos in their previous encounter and were hoping to avenge the two defeats they suffered from Pirates this season, but found Rudi Krol’s charges uncompromising.
The home side had Maritzburg United chasing their shadows, and even the absence of Thulasizwe Mbuyane and happy Jele could not hold the Buccaneers back as they managed to extend their unbeaten run to 15 games.
Once more, the evergreen Andile Jali showed tenacity in the middle of the park, while Oupa Manyesa, who has shown a lot of improvement in Pirates’ recent games, underlined his class with a commendable performance.
The two players made their team tick in midfield. They had the ability to fall back in defence to snuff out threats at goal, but were equally as effective going forward when they were not raking passes to Kashego Mashego and Ndumiso Mabena upfront.
It came as no surprise when the young Ndumiso Mabena rose above the Maritzburg United players to head home a Katlego Mashego’s corner kick in the 36th minute to put Pirates in the driving seat.
The introduction of Diyo Sibisi for Felix Obada in the 46th minute produced an equalizer for Maritzburg United. Sibisi was only on the field for four minutes when he combined with Gert Schalkwyk before setting up Rudolph Bester who made no mistake slotting the ball past Senzo Meyiwa in the 49th minute to level matters for his team.
However, Segolela scored Pirates second goal when he beat Shu Aib Walters with a beautiful goal in the 87th minute before Isaac Chansa sealed the game for the Buccaneers during referee’s optional time.
Orlando Pirates: 4-4-2: Meyiwa, Lekgwathi Cloete, Johannes, Mahamutsa, Manyisa, Jali, Mongala, (Mayambela 70th) Segolela, Mabena, (Chansa 82nd) Mashego. (Ndulula 65th)
Maritzburg United: 4-5-1: Walters, Hendricks, (Fransch 26th) (Davids 90th) Ngwepe, Alder, Diouf, Obada, (Sibisi 46th) Madondo, Evans, Leintjies, Schalkwyk, Bester.