Pirates beat Arrows to close gap at the top

Mthokozisi Dube
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Orlando Pirates moved to within a point of log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, as they beat a 10-man Golden Arrows 2-1 in a Premiership match at the Princess Magogo Stadium near Durban on Saturday evening.

After a goal-less first half, Pirates found the back of the Arrows goal-net in the 49th minute, when striker Thembinkosi Lorch scored at close range from a pass from midfielder Musa Nyatama.

In the 56th minute, Arrows were reduced to 10 men when midfielder Limbikani Mzava was sent for an early shower after allegedly fouling Pirates midfielder Amigo Memela.

Mzava received his second yellow card of the match, but his Arrows’ team-mates were left fuming as they tried to inform the referee that the player who carried out the foul was indeed Mzwandile Buthelezi and not Mzava.

The Buccaneers could have been two goals to the good at that stage, had an appeal for a penalty in the 22nd minute gone in their favour after the attacking Justin Shonga had beaten the Arrows off-side trap. His pass found defender Mthokozisi Dube, who was bundled to the ground, but the spot-kick was not given by referee Thando Ndzandzeka.

Pirates did eventually double their lead when Dube scored his second of the night in the 70th minute, after some fine build-up play. With the Arrows’ defence unable to clear the ball with any confidence, Dube pounced to put the match well beyond the reach of the hosts.

To their credit, Arrows showed great character in trying to find a way back into the game, and any hopes that Pirates goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane had of keeping a clean sheet on the night, were dashed in the 84th minute. Second half substitute Jabulani Shongwe got on to the score-sheet for the home side after the ball was cut back by striker Lerato Lemola.

Pirates, who were eliminated from the Nedbank Cup by Cape Town City earlier in the week, now have 42 points from 24 games, with their next league encounter being at home to Bloemfontein Celtic on April 4. Pirates have played one match more than top-of-the-table side Sundowns.

Arrows remain on 27 points from 24 matches, and will travel to the Mother City to take on Cape Town City in their next league match on April 4.