Pirates snatch late victory
Port Elizabeth - A goal three minutes from time from substitute Tokelo Rantie saw Orlando Pirates beat Jomo Cosmos 2-1 in an Absa Premiership match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The loss for Cosmos means they are still yet to win a game in the PSL this season while Pirates are up to fifth on the table.
From the outset Cosmos knew chances would be few and far between and consequently they resulted to shooting on sight early on, but with very little effect.
Two such examples came from Siyabonga Nhlapo in the third and fifth minute respectively, but both shots from just outside the 18-yard area went well wide of the target.
After that, however, the Buccaneers soon took charge of the match and dominated the midfield battle which resulted in them controlling the possession stakes.
Still, despite Pirates commanding the game they struggled to break down a resolute and somewhat stubborn Cosmos defence.
Nonetheless, the visiting side did manage to create a couple of chances in the first half.
In the 20th minute Lucky Lekgwathi latched onto a corner-kick with a powerful header from the edge of the six-yard area, but his effort was superbly saved by Avril Phali diving full stretch to his right to palm the ball away from danger.
Three minutes later and a great individual run from Daine Klate saw him break down the right flank and supply a perfect cross to unmarked Bongani Ndulula 12-yards out from goal, but the Pirates striker tried a spectacular scissors-kick and only succeeded in scuffing his shot with the goal at his mercy.
Then in the 29th minute, very much against the run of play, a brilliant passing movement by Cosmos saw them break the deadlock.
Bamuza Sono created the chance on goal with a defence splitting pass that set Katleho Loke free inside the right edge of the 18-yard box and the Ezenkosi man fired a good low cross into the box that saw Siyabonga Nonyshinga acting first, getting in front of his marker, to side-foot the ball home from a couple yards out at the near post, 1-0.
For all the money in the world it looked like the home side would finish the first half in the lead which would have been fare reward for their defensive display that was characterised by tough tackling and well timed interceptions of final through balls.
But it was not to be for the Cosmos when, in the dying seconds of the first 45, the referee wrongly adjudged Lehlohonolo Nonyane to have pulled down Rudolph Bester inside the box. Replays clearly showed Bester had dived to earn the penalty.
Nevertheless, Isaac Chansa stepped up to the spot and coolly slotted the ball home into the top left corner, 1-1.
The second half saw Cosmos start the better of the two teams and they came close to taking the lead again with two attempts on goal within a minute of each other.
In the 53rd minute Notshinga broke into the box and pulled the best out of Moneeb Josephs who produced a great reflex save at his near post palming a powerful 14-yard effort over the crossbar.
From the resulting corner, though, Cosmos should really have scored their second goal when Thapelo Tshilo was allowed a free header from only a couple yards out at the set-piece, but the defender headed the ball wide when it looked harder to miss than score.
Following those couple of early chances for Cosmos at the start of the second stanza, the game returned to its familiar pattern and saw Pirates dictating terms once more. But much like the first half the Buccaneers were unable to penetrate the Cosmos defence.
Instead, as Pirates pushed forward for the equaliser they left themselves exposed at the back and nearly paid the price in the 85th minute when a quick counter-attack saw Nonyane with a free header after a perfect cross from the right. Nonyane, however, headed straight at Josephs who saved with his feet.
After surviving that scare Pirates did manage to finally take the lead a minute later when substitute Tokelo Ranite, after only being on the field for eight minutes, showed a cool head to give his side the lead.
A long ball from the back was latched onto by Rantie just outside the 18-yard box and he showed real composure as he drove into the box and beat one defender before firing home from 14-yards out, 2-1, handing Pirates the victory.
Jomo Cosmos (1) 1 (Nonyshinga 29’)
Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Chansa 45+1’ pen, Rantie 87’)