Rejuvenated Pirates put on great show as Baroka come second best
Orlando Pirates threatened to run rampant, then were contained by Baroka FC, buta 3-1 Absa Premiership victory at Orlando Stadium last night was still Bucs’ most convincing at home this season.
Flashes of brilliance from Pirates hinted at a more forceful second half of the 2017/18 campaign from a team who came into this match in eighth place.
Luvuyo Memela was the influential player taking a half-time lead that would remainthe final scoreline with an assist to Musa Nyatama’s sixth-minute opener and goals inthe 19th and 28th minutes. Baroka forward Mduduzi Mdantsane pulled one back with a penalty in the 30th. This was Pirates ’ fourth home win of the season, and their first since a 1-0 victory against Cape Town City at FNB Stadium on September 19.
Their long dry spell at Orlando (they last beat Ajax Cape Town here on September 12)had been put down to a circumspect approach at home by coach Milutin Sredojevic,sitting deep and sussing teams out in the first half, then attacking from the break.He appears to have used the Christmas recess to come up with a more aggressivestrategy, and the results were there to see.Inspired Bucs were on the front foot from the start, using forwards Memela and JustinShonga and midfielders Thabo Matlaba and Nyatama to pry Bakgaga open with incisivemovement and passing. The end result was Pirates ’ second win from 11 matches.Bucs were rampant in the opening 25 minutes.
From a short free-kick near the corner flag on the right Memela touched to ThabisoKutumela, then crossed, and Nyatama was left free for a gift header past Virgil Vries.Shonga is growing into his playmaking centre-forward role. His drive was palmedover by Vries.
From the resultant corner by Memela, Innocent Maela headed onto the upright. Shonga set up the second with sheer class, turning leftback Punch Masenamela twice, then feeding Mthokozisi Dube inside, who went to the goalline and squeezed a ball across the face that Memela produced a sharp finish to at the near post.Memela scored his second with a great side-foot past Vries, having been put throughby Matlaba. Baroka pulled one back after Gladwin Shitolo clattered down Lucky Nguzana, Mdantsane stepping up for an audacious chipped penalty past Jackson Mabokgwane. It’s not often that you will see a team 3-1 up huddling at the whistle for the break.
Pirates seemed to feel they had let Baroka off the hook, and their determination to pressthe advantage was encouraging. From another troublesome Memela corner after the restart, Nyatama headed straight at Vries. But the Buccaneers struggled to press a further advantage, a more composed Baroka denying penetration.