Absa Premiership match report Orlando Pirates v Black Leopards 10 April 2019
Posted: 10 April 2019 Time: 17:32
Orlando Pirates went three points clear at the top of the Absa Premiership standings with a 2-0 victory over Black Leopards at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Pirates bossed the early exchanges, knocking the ball around nicely and stretching the Leopards defence with their pacy widemen. Luvuyo Memela played a delightful ball for Thembinkosi Lorch down the inside-left channel in the 12th minute, but Chris Katjukua made a last-ditch tackle just as Lorch was about to pull the trigger.
Soon after, Leopards broke on a swift counter-attack, with Pentjie Zulu finding plenty of space on the overlap down the left-hand side but he took the wrong option in choosing to shoot from a tight angle when there were plenty of numbers in the box as the ball sailed wide of the mark.
In the 20th minute, the hosts took a short corner and Memela swung in a beautiful delivery which was flicked on dangerously by Musa Nyatama but the ball went narrowly wide of the far post.
The Buccanneers then won a free-kick just outside the box after Happy Jele was sandwiched between two Leopards defenders. Memela did the rest, curling the ball beautifully in to the top right-hand corner to break the deadlock.
In the 27th minute, Lorch played a one-two with Memela and strode in to the box. His cut-back deflected kindly in to the path of Justin Shonga, but he side-footed over the bar from close range when he really should have scored.
Lidoda Duvha almost equalised in fortuitous circumstances in the 35th minute. Karabo Tshepe strode in to the box confidently before unleashing a shot which deflected off Marshall Munetsi and went inches wide of the post with Wayne Sandilands completely beaten.
On the stroke of half-time, Lorch got in to space down the left and delivered an inch-perfect cross for Shonga, but his side-footed effort went wide of the post. Pirates could have been two or three up at least by the time Victor Gomes brought the first period to an end.
Dylan Kerr's side were doing well to disrupt the league leaders' rhythm and were pressing the Soweto giants more effectively in the second half. Katjukua was having a good game at the heart of the visitors' defence, making some crucial interceptions and blocks.
On the hour mark, Milutin Sredojevic yanked off Thabo Qalinge for Vincent Pule in search of the killer goal. After some neat interplay between Shonga and Lorch, the ball found its way to Memela, who fired narrowly over from just inside the box.
Katjukua made a rare mistake in the 71st minute, sloppily giving the ball straight to Lorch, leaving his team exposed at the back, however the Pirates wideman's left-footed strike across goal was well palmed away by Rotshidzwa Muleka, with Shonga hitting the post from a tight angle on the rebound.
After many missed opportunities, the hosts finally got their second. Nyatama played a ball over the top of the Leopards defence from a free-kick, which Lorch headed coolly past Muleka, who came off his line but did not get to the ball in time.
That would ultimately be the killer blow as Pirates claimed a comfortable victory in the end.
Pirates: Sandilands, Jele, Munetsi, Maela, Dube, Motshwari, Nyatama, Qalinge, Memela, Shonga, Lorch.
Subs: Mabokgwane, Pule, Mabaso, Gabuza, Matlaba, Makola, Nyauza.
Leopards: Muleka, Munyai, Munganga, Zulu, Katjiukua, Masalesa, Bereng, Madua, Tshepe, Sekotlong, Musonda
Subs: Ndlovu, Masia, Ng'ambi, Hlongwane, Kapinga, Mahangwahaya, Mhlongo.