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Date: 23 September 2017

  South African - Soccer

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Pirates lose ground in title race

[Posted 30 Apr 2011]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Pirates lose ground in title race

Orlando Pirates, a team that has been dubbed by sections of the South African media as Champions-elect, fell 0-1 at home to champions Supersport United, and in the process have fallen three points behind Ajax Cape Town in the tight title race.

The Buccaneers, who controlled much of the ball possession in the opening stages of the match, and during some patches in the second half, succumbed to tactically superior United who scored through Morgan Gould in the 29th minute.

Tebogo Langerman flighted a beautiful free-kick from the left, about 45 metres from Jacob Mokhasi's goal area, and Gould reacted faster than Rooi Mahamutsa to beat Mokhasi, who stood in for the injured Senzo Meyiwa.

Though the Pirates defence was at fault in their failure to cover their defence lines, Mokhasi should have done much better to stop Gould's tame header.

Pirates tried desperately to get the equaliser, and in the 37th minute, Fernandez spilled a blistering shot from Oupa Manyisa from outside the box, and a defender had to scramble away the loose ball before a Bucs striker could come for the kill.

In the second half, Supersport frustrated Pirates with some neat build-ups and played like real champions and one could only wonder why such a gifted team was at some point fighting relegation instead of defending the title they won three times in a row.

The Bucs pressed Supersport despite the Tshwane side's good build-ups early in the 2nd half. In the 66th minute, Happy Jele had the easiest of chances to draw Pirates level, but the player's tame shot was well-saved by Rowen Fernandez.

Had Jele scored, that surely could have changed the complexion of the game at that point.

As the match approached the end, Gavin Hunt sought to tighten up things in midfield. He replaced Glen Salmon deep in the second half with Thabo September, who came to add steel in midfield. Later in the game, Hunt brought on David Kannemeyer for Antony Laffor.

United were to hold on to a well-deserved 1-0 win away from home.

Pirates  coach Rudolf Krol admitted during post-match interview that the destiny of the title race is now out of his team's hands.His team remains at 56 points and Ajax sits at 59.

As if Ajax's three point advantage is not enough, Pirates are even a goal behind now in terms of goal difference, sitting at plus 17, compared to Ajax's plus 18.

Ajax face tougher opposition in one of their two remaining games in Kaizer Chiefs, whom they are scheduled to meet next weekend, while Pirates have to make a trip to Cape Town to face difficult to predict Santos.

The final league matches will see Ajax at home to Maritzburg, a tie which appears relatively easier on paper, but there is nothing easy in playing opposition battling relegation. If the Urban Warriors are not careful, the visitors could derail their title aspirations. 

Other results on Saturday

Vasco da Gama 3-5 Platinum Stars

Golden Arrows 3-4 Santos

Bidvest Wits 1-4 Bloemfontein Cetic

Free Sate Stars 1-3 Moroka Swallows

 

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