Bucs down 10-man Maritzburg
Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates dialled up the pressure on Absa Premiership leaders Kaizer Chiefs with a 2-1 win over 10-man Maritzburg United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday night.
The Buccaneers, thanks to goals from Oupa Manyisa
and Andile Jali
, have pulled level with Amakhosi on 31 points at the top of the table but remain in second due to an inferior goal difference. The Team of Choice, who had Ruben Cloete sent off early in the second half, scored their consolation goal through Cuthbert Malajila.
After a competitive first 30 minutes, Pirates broke the deadlock: Daine Klate
wriggled free of the attentions of Rheece Evans down the right flank before picking out an unmarked Oupa Manyisa
at the far post. The midfielder controlled the cross before steering a low shot past goalkeeper Shu-aib Walters.
Maritzburg made a change at the start of the second half, with Evans making way for Thabang Matuka, and they nearly forced an equaliser in the 48th minute when goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa
dropped a cross, but Terrence Mandaza was unable to get his attempted shot on target.
Yet on 50 minutes former Pirates defender Ruben Cloete let the Team of Choice down when he dived into a studs-up challenge on Thandani Ntshumayelo. Referee Daniel Bennett had no choice but to show him a red card, reducing the home side to 10 men.
Seven minutes later Pirates took full advantage of their numerical superiority, outnumbering Maritzburg defenders with a speedy counter-attack before Collins Mbesuma provided a cross that was headed home by Andile Jali
to make it 2-0.
With just over 10 minutes to play Maritzburg pulled a goal back. A Delron Buckley
pass into the penalty area was only half-cleared by Happy Jele
, teeing the ball up for Cuthbert Malajila to drive a shot into the top corner of the net and reduce the deficit to 2-1.