Lekgwathi hands Bucs vital win
Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates moved back to the summit of the Absa Premiership log for at least 24 hours with a dramatic 2-1 win over SuperSport United at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday night.
Bucs captain Lucky Lekgwathi scored a winner deep into referee’s optional time after earlier strikes from Tokelo Rantie and Sameehg Doutie had left the game locked at 1-1. Matsatsantsa, who looked the better team for most of the match, suffered after the dismissal of Edwin Gyimah with a quarter hour to play.
Pirates are three points clear at the top of the standings, but Mamelodi Sundowns could reclaim first place on goal difference when they face Kaizer Chiefs on Wednesday night.
United started strongly and twice threatened to take an early lead. On six minutes Franklin Cale cut inside from the right and fired off a powerful shot from outside the penalty area that forced goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs to palm the ball away for a corner kick.
The set piece then almost resulted in an own goal from Lucky Lekgwathi, whose awkward attempt to head away from the danger zone saw the ball bounce back off the crossbar, with Josephs helpless to make a save had it been on target.
Pirates gradually gained a foothold in the game, though when they broke the deadlock in their favour on 29 minutes it was still somewhat against the run of play. Tokelo Rantie was left unmarked at the far post and controlled a Tlou Segolela cross from the right before firing a right-footed shot past goalkeeper Rowen Fernandez.
Five minutes later SuperSport were forced into an early substitution when Kermit Erasmus took a knock to the head in a challenge with Siyabonga Sangweni and was replaced by the veteran Sibusiso Zuma. The score remained 1-0 in favour of the visitors up to the half time break.
SuperSport continued to look the better team in the second half and just past the hour mark they deservedly drew level. Former Bucs player Sameehg Doutie scored direct from a free kick near the left by-line with an in-swinging shot that was lofted over the reach of Josephs and went in via the inside of the far post.
With 20 minutes to play Benni McCarthy threatened to put Pirates back into the lead with a left-footed shot from the edge of the box, but Rowen Fernandez was equal to the striker’s effort.
Five minutes later, with SuperSport upping the intensity and looking the likelier team to go on and win the game, midfielder Edwin Gyimah was sent off after a coming together with Andile Jali which saw the Ghanaian direct a slap toward his opponent.
Bucs, with a numerical advantage, dominated the rest of the match but failed to create any clear chances. It seemed destined to end a draw, but in the last minute of injury time Lucky Lekgwathi somehow squeezed a long-range shot through a crowd of SuperSport defenders and found the bottom corner of the net.