/ 21 February 2008

Pirates celebrate 70th birthday in fine style

Orlando Pirates celebrated their 70th birthday in style when they beat Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 in an Absa Premiership match at the Johannesburg Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Bennet Chenene headed in from close range in the ninth minute and Bucs lead doubled two minutes later when Excellent Walaza also headed in.

Former Zimbabwe striker Gilbert Mushangazhike struck the final blow five minutes after the break and it was all over for Sundowns, whose consolation goal was netted by Peter Ndlovu.

Pirates started in a flurry and pressed Sundowns back tenaciously.

Sundowns defender Benson Mhlongo faltered under the pressure and tried to clear a cross which hit his keeper’s bar. The rebound fell kindly to Chenene who nodded it past a stranded Brian Baloyi.

Two minutes later, Chenene whipped in a pin-point cross that Walaza nodded home unchallenged.

This woke up Sundowns and they pinned Pirates back for the duration of the half but they could not find the back of the net. On the stroke of halftime though Ndlovu pounced on a rebound from a Fanyana Dhladhla shot and gave the visitors some hope.

However, hardly five minutes after the restart Mushangazhike netted for the second time in Pirates colours. Sundowns tried hard to come back from the defeicit but were unable to breach the Bucs defence.

Pirates are in third place with 30 points, five behind leaders Ajax Cape Town while Sundowns, the defending league champs, are a whopping 14 behind the Cape side. – Sapa