Absa Premiership

Superb Kekana strike earns 'Downs victory over Pirates

2017-11-02 08:18
Hlompho Kekana (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - A Hlompho Kekana brace handed Mamelodi Sundowns a 3-1 victory over Orlando Pirates in their Premiership clash at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening.

As it happened: Orlando Pirates 1-3 Mamelodi Sundowns

It was a cracking opening 45 minutes with both teams set up to attack from the start. The Brazilians took the advantage in the opening minutes of the match as Abbubaker Mobara's clearance struck Kekana, whose block fortuitously went in beyond a stranded Wayne Sandilands.

In the 11th minute, Thembinkosi Lorch was played in on the inside right channel from a superb Thabo Matlaba pass, however, he scuffed his effort past Denis Onyango's far post.

Soon afterward, Kekana hit yet another goal of the season contender as his swerving strike from inside his own half looped over a scrambling Sandilands, who was off his line.

Pirates were left stunned and Milutin Sredojevic made an early change as Thabiso Kutumela was brought off for Thamsanqa Gabuza. Kekana nearly made it 3-0 around the half-hour mark as he collected the ball centrally and sent a powerful effort just past the post from 30 yards out.

Nonetheless, the Buccaneers showed real character as they roared back into the contest just before the break. After a foul was conceded by 'Downs on the edge of the area, Marc Van Heerden curled in a stunning free-kick. Lorch had a decent half chance in the closing stages but put his strike over the bar.

After the interval, Pirates came out with intent as 'Downs were seemingly on the back foot - Issa Sarr found a good pocket of the space inside the penalty area but failed to create a chance to shoot or find a team-mate.

The hosts were on the front foot and Qalinge broke into the inside right channel of the box, but his driven cross was dived upon by Onyango with Gabuza lurking.

On a rare counter from a free-kick, Kekana nearly grabbed his hat-trick but his curling effort hit the outside of the post with Sandilands struggling.

Soon afterward Percy Tau forced a save from Sandilands inside the area on the left, after Sibusiso Vilakazi picked him out.  

It was open warfare as Pitso Mosimane's men started to get more joy on the break. Tiyani Mabunda burst forward from midfield and his powerful strike was palmed over by Bucs' number one. 

The intensity continued at both ends as Thabo Qalinge broke into the small box, rounded Onyango but his cross from the goal-line was cleared by the visitors.

In the 70th minute the same player saw a deflected effort go on to the roof of the net.

Qalinge then missed a golden chance in the 80th minute to equalise as he turned beyond Sundowns' defence from Van Heerden's shot, but curled inches wide when anything on target would likely have gone in. 

Substitute Anthony Laffor put a shot wide in the closing stages on another rare counter but the Liberia international made it 3-1 with a superb finish into the top of the net in stoppage time.


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