Pirates keep in touch with Downs on top
Orlando Pirates’ title aspirations received a boost after the disappointment of midweek cup defeat as they beat Lamontville Golden Arrows 2-1 away on Saturday night to move to within one point of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
After losing in the second round of the Nedbank Cup to Cape Town City away on Wednesday, the Buccaneers need a resilient showing despite little rest and came up with the desired result in a game in which referee Thando Ndzandzeka embarrassingly sent off the wrong player.
Arrows had to play most of the second half down to 10 men after a case of mistaken identity as Limbikani Mzava was booked a second time for a foul he did not commit and got sent the showers in the 50th minute.
The ref should have booked Mzwandile Buthelezi but picked on the wrong man to the fury of a frustrated home side.
But by then Pirates had already taken the lead through Thembinkosi Lorch after a sparkling set of passes in the 49th minute.
A second goal came from Mthokozisi Dube, after a lucky ricochet with 20 minutes to go, but plucky Arrows kept fighting despite the injustice and set up an exciting finish when Danny Venter pulled a goal back with six minutes remaining.
Pirates played with a changed system after the midweek cup defeat with three centre backs and two high pressing fullbacks with both Dube and Innocent Maela effectively operating as wingers.
It kept Arrows largely pinned back, relying on the occasional break on the counter, but Pirates failed to make early use of the dominance.
Xola Mlambo had their first effort in the 17th minute but his shot with the outside of the boot did not have the requisite power to beat Maximilian Mbaeva.
There was a genuine penalty appeal for Pirates five minutes later when Zolani Nkombela held back Dube as he looked to get onto the end of a square ball from Justin Shonga but the referee seemed to miss it.
Shonga broke clear after a defensive slip but tried to pass then than shoot despite having proved his prowess from a difficult angle against Chippa United a few weeks back.
Then straight after that Thembinkosi Lorch should have pulled the trigger too but opted out and, instead, fluffed a pass to Shonga when he really had a chance to fire home.
Arrows’ first chance came in the 29th minute with a free kick pulled back by Siphelele Magubane to Venter, who conspired to fire well wide of the target.
Luvuyo Memela was back after his derby heroics but a little off the pace as he took the place of Thabo Qalinge, who had been poor on his return in midweek from a lengthy lay-off.
Lamontville Golden Arrows (0) 1 (Danny Venter 84th min)
Orlando Pirates (0) 2 (Thembinkosi Lorch 49th min, Mthokozisi Dube 70th min)