Pirates keep pace with Chiefs
Orlando Pirates logo (File)
Soweto - Sifiso Myeni struck in first-half injury time as Orlando Pirates beat Free State Stars 1-0 in their Premiership match at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
In what could be one of the goals of the season, Myeni produced a moment of individual flair in an otherwise tight battle as the title holders remained in second place in the league standings.
Pirates enjoyed more possession and territory, but they did little to capitalise, and it was always going to take a moment of magic to seal the win.
Stars were lacking in creativity, and barring one goalmouth scuffle, Senzo Meyiwa was largely untroubled in the Pirates goal.
In the first period, it looked like both teams were sizing each other up for much of the half, with nothing but mediocre chances throughout.
In the 10th minute, Takesure Chinyama had the first shot on target for the home side, but his strike was easily gathered by Kennedy Mweene in the Stars goal.
Three minutes later, Pirates took a quick free kick from 30 metres out, and Myeni was released into the area. He crossed for Lucky Lekgwathi whose first-time strike shaved the crossbar.
Chinyama was denied again by Mweene in the 29th minute. On this occasion the Pirates player should have done better, but his close range shot was well stopped.
Stars came closest to opening the scores in the 31st minute but Luyolo Nomandela had a shot cleared off the line by a defender, after Meyiwa was drawn off his line.
Chinyama was involved again in the 36th minute. He burst his way into the box and crossed for Thulasizwe Mbuyane, but his shot bounced over the target.
It looked like the game would go to the interval all square, before a bit of individual brilliance from Myeni separated the sides. From just inside the area, he met the cross, controlled the ball and produced a stunning strike which rocketed into the top corner to give his side a 1-0 lead.
In the 58th minute, Daine Klate had the responsibility of taking a free-kick in a dangerous area 25 metres out from the Stars goal. Klate's shot, however, was tame and produced an easy catch for Mweene.
Second half substitute Collins Mbesuma then singed the right hand post in the 70th minute, as Mweene looked to have the threat covered.
Klate spurned a good chance from close range, across the face of goal in injury time, and Pirates came away with a valuable three points.