Pirates 90 minutes from title
Orlando Pirates logo (File)
Orlando - Orlando Pirates are just 90 minutes away from a second successive Absa Premiership title after beating Bloemfontein Celtic 2-1 at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
The Buccaneers retained their two-point advantage at the head of the standings over Soweto rivals Moroka Swallows, but they had to dig deep to do so, scoring two late goals to recover from an early deficit that threatened to spoil their hopes.
Celtic opened the scoring early on through Letladi Madubanya and held the lead for almost 70 minutes until Thulasizwe Mbuyane levelled the game up. Five minutes later, Siyabonga Sangweni scored the winner.
Pirates started promisingly, but it was Celtic who scored an early goal. With virtually their first attack, the visitors got a free kick on the right flank which saw Letladi Madubanya head his side into a fourth-minute lead from Clifford Mulenga’s delivery.
The goal stunned the home crowd into silence and set the tone for the rest of the first half, with Pirates dominating possession but often looking vulnerable at the back whenever Phunya Sele Sele pushed numbers forward on a counter attack.
The Buccaneers bossed the midfield and usually moved the ball swiftly out to the flanks, but too often their final pass, cross or shot was simply lacking in the quality needed to prise open a determined Celtic defence.
Pirates failed to create a single clear scoring opportunity in the first 45 minutes, with their only notable efforts being long range shots from the likes of Isaac Chansa and Andile Jali that failed to even trouble goalkeeper Thabani Stemmer.
The match continued in much the same way in the second half until the 73rd minute when substitutes Ndumiso Mabena and Thulasizwe Mbuyane combined - the former crossed from the left flank for the latter, who headed back across goal to beat Stemmer’s right hand and make it 1-1.
Five minutes later the hosts surged into the lead with a second goal that was remarkably similar to the first: this time Klate crossed from the left and Siyabonga Sangweni squeezed his header past Stemmer to make it 2-1.