Pirates crush Leopards
Collins Mbesuma (Backpage)
Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates ran rampant in the second half, coasting to a 4-0 win over Black Leopards in Polokwane on Wednesday night as they climbed back to second in the Premiership standings.
Leopards goalkeeper Azwindini Maphaha had kept his side in the game with some stellar saves in a goalless opening period.
He was first called to action in the 14th minute when he produced a dive to his left to keep out a shot from Oupa Manyisa, and 12 minutes later he was again off his feet, deflecting a strike by Daine Klate.
The hosts nearly snatched the lead shortly after the half-hour mark with perhaps their best chance of the match. Joshua Obaje rounded Pirates 'keeper Senzo Meyiwa and got a shot on target in front of an open goal, but Lucky Lekgwathi stretched to get a leg to it, keeping the ball out.
Collins Mbesuma, charging into the box, had the last real effort of the first half, with a minute left before the break, but Maphaha pulled off another stunner to parry his thunderous strike around the post.
While Leopards did well to hold off the Soweto giants in the opening period, the Buccaneers took control immediately after the break.
Mbesuma got them off the mark two minutes into the second stanza with a thunderous strike.
Thandani Ntshumayelo added a second on the hour mark when he received a corner from Khethokwakhe Masuku and found the back of the net from outside the area.
Pirates stretched their lead three minutes later when Tlou Segolela sent over a cross which found Klate, who scored from an awkward close-range volley.
Replacement Happy Jele buried the home side even further when he climbed high and netted a well-placed header with 10 minutes left in the match.
While Pirates stayed within four points of log leaders Kaizer Chiefs, Leopards lost more points in their attempt to climb into the top half of the table.