/ 4 November 2007

Sundowns get the better of Bucs

The emerging Orlando Pirates lost 2-1 to Mamelodi Sundowns at a packed Loftus Stadium in an Absa Premier League game played on Sunday.

Esrom Nyandoro scored first for the two-time league champs in the 37th minute and then Lucas Thwala netted the equaliser four minutes later.

South Africa midfielder Benson Mhlongo netted the winner in the dying minutes of the first half.

The young Pirates started fervently and pinned Sundowns in their half as Teko Modise and Bennet Chenene dominated the midfield. Upfront, Paulos Masehe was in fine form but was matched by Downs’s keeper Brian Baloyi.

Masehe shot at goal from 22m out but Baloyi was alert and punched the ball out. Two minutes later Masehe again brought the best out of Baloyi.

It was an all Pirates affair as Sundowns sat back and absorbed the pressure, relying on counterattacks to get forward. Midfield anchor Esrom Nyandoro was given acres of space when he scored with a low and powerful drive.

This compelled Pirates to attack and the youngsters equalised four minutes later.

Chenene swung in a vicious free kick that caught Baloyi off guard, but the veteran keeper managed to get behind the ball and it bounced into the path of Thwala, who made no mistake from inside the small box.

Pirates’ fans celebrated but it was to be short-lived as Sundowns bounced back in similar fashion. Sapula also swung in a free kick that Mhlongo just got a touch to at the near-post and it flew past the helpless Senzo Meyiwa.

After the break the teams reversed roles as Sundowns’ experience — led by Sapula — overcame the youthful Bucs brigade. Brent Carelse, who replaced Zimbabwe veteran striker Peter Ndlovu, missed a glorious chance after coming on after the hour mark.

Pirates pressed hard to get back in the game but the resilience of Baloyi and misfortune were against them. Chenene had a chance late in the game to even the score but his set-piece rocketed off the upright. – Sapa