Pirates title hopes suffer setback

Pirates and Supersport players
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Orlando Pirates’ ABSA Premiership title hopes suffered a major setback when they lost 1-0 to their Supersport United in the only league match played Wednesday night. Pirates remain third on the log, four points adrift of log leaders Bidvest Wits, both having played 20 matches. The win elevated Supersport to fourth place after three wins in a row.

Pirates welcomed four of their regular players back to their starting line-up, with goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands retained in goals after improved performances. The visitors controlled the opening minutes of the match, but were nearly punished when United launched a counter attack. Sandilands was called to make the save.

A few minutes later, United keeper Ronwen Williams denied Ben Motshwari.

Sandilands produced another brilliant save when he denied defender Clayton Daniels in another first half opportunity.

United grew in confidence as the game progressed, but were again denied by Sandilands in the 60th minute. However, there was little Sandilands could do three minutes later when Daniels put United in the lead.

Pirates started playing with more purpose after conceding, but Williams stood firm. Then Bucs were awarded a penalty in the 76th minute when Evans Rusike handled inside the box. However, Williams was United’s hero on the night after he denied Pirates captain Happy Jele from the penalty spot.

Pirates are still winless in all competitions in February, having lost twice and drawn twice.

Pirates Coach Milutin Sredojevic says that they put everything into their attack.

“We threw everything in attack putting Memela, Gabuza, and Makola inside and then attacking with five strikers practically risking everything, getting the penalty deservedly from domination. Missing the penalty, there’s nothing to speak about. We continued to throw everything forward to stretch the opponent wide, to bring the crosses to attack to the centre however, our opponent was resolutely defending unfortunately we lost the match.”

Pirates have another difficult side to contend with on Saturday when they host Amazulu at Orlando Stadium.

However, the weekend’s focus will be on Saturday evening’s top of the table clash between log leaders Bidvest Wits and second placed Mamelodi Sundowns in Johannesburg.