Mashego secures golden win for Pirates
Katlego Mashego made the perfect start for his new club Orlando Pirates when he scored a spectacular goal on debut at the Johannesburg Stadium to help sink struggling Maritzburg United 2-1 in their Absa Premiership showdown on Wednesday night.
The Bafana Bafana striker was signed on Tuesday from defending champions SuperSport United and made an immediate impact.
He warmed the hearts of the Bucs fans in the small 5 000-strong crowd on a windy and chilly night and helped wipe away the memory of Bucs’ 1-0 loss to SuperSport at the same venue last weekend.
The win helped the Buccaneers jump into fourth place with 23 points—the same number of points as their fierce rivals Kaizer Chiefs, but Bucs have a superior goal difference over Amakhosi at the halfway mark of the season.
It was a mixed night for United midfielder Fanyana Dhladhla who gave away a penalty, scored a great goal in the 64th minute and then was sent off in the 81st minute.
Mashego made it 2-0 in the 39th minute when he cut down the left flank and hit a curling long-range shot that fooled the visitor’s shaky keeper, Tashrique Goldman, who completely missed the ball as it sailed into the top far corner, sparking wild celebrations in the stands.
United coach Gordon Igesund, who won the league title with Pirates in 2001, could only shake his head in amazement and frustration.
Pirate fans on edge
Bucs were full value for their three points that keeps them in touch with leaders Ajax Cape Town who have 30 points.
The home side went 1-0 ahead in the 13th minute when referee Peter Mabuza awarded Pirates a penalty when Dhladhla tripped Teko Modise just inside his penalty area.
Modise did brilliantly to control a long-range cross from Dikgang Mabalane and when he turned to shoot, Dhladhla fouled him and was given a yellow card for the foul.
Bucs defender Lucas Thwala coolly slammed home the penalty to put his side into a 1-0 lead.
Dhladhla, playing his second game for the relegation-haunted United, wasted a chance early on when he should have tested Bucs keeper Moeneeb Josephs, but the former Mamelodi Sundowns midfielder tamely shot at the relieved Josephs.
United started the second half better. Winger Tony Tsabedze did well to beat the Bucs defence and sent in a low cross that sailed past Josephs, but unfortunately for the Swaziland international none of his teammates were up with play and a rare chance to reduce the deficit was lost.
Dhladhla brought out the best in Josephs with a fine shot in the 62nd minute that the Bafana number two keeper did well to save.
But Dhladhla made amends in the 64th minute when he beat Josephs with a superb shot from 35m that flew into the roof of the net, giving the coastal side a vital lifeline by reducing the deficit to 2-1.
Two minutes later, Pirates fans hearts were in their mouths when a fired-up Dhladhla headed wide from close range.
Mashego tried his luck from outside the United penalty area but this time Goldman was wide awake and pulled off a good save in the 67th minute. Then Mashego fired over the crossbar two minutes later as Pirates went searching for the third goal to ensure victory.
Goldman did well to pull off another top-class save in the 74th minute—this time to deny Modise a goal.
Any hopes of United salvaging a point disappeared in the 81st minute when Dhladhla, who was earlier booked for giving away the penalty, was given a second yellow and a red card for kicking Josephs in the head when the keeper had completed a save on the ground.
In other games played on Wednesday, Sundowns beat Bloemfontein Celtic 1-0 and Platinum Stars beat AmaZulu 3-2.—Sapa