UNITED PIRATES STEAL VICTORY
Myeni’s strike in stoppage time grants Buccaneers a measure of revenge for Knockout Cup failure
JUST AS the heavens were pregnant with rain but never delivered, this match promised so many goals but dished out a mere three as the Buccaneers gained sweet revenge for their Telkom Knockout semi-final defeat a fortnight ago.
The sizeable crowd that gathered here could so easily have been treated to a goal-fest, similar to that enjoyed in Rustenburg when Platinum Stars beat AmaZulu 4-2 on Saturday.
And here the game could have gone either way, with both Matsatsantsa and the Buccaneers creating ample chances to produced a rugby-type score.
It was Sifiso Myeni who delivered the strike that broke SuperSport’s heart while serving to ease the pain Pirates suffered when they lost by a similar scoreline in their first match following the death of their goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa.
Deep into the six minutes of time added, Myeni showed the strikers how to finish when he latched on to the ball inside the box and unleashed a low shot to beat the, up until then, impressive Ronwen Williams.
That just about everyone on the Pirates bench ran on to the pitch at the final whistle, told the story of a team craving victory – if only to deliver a winning send off for their former No 1 and captain.
And they no doubt were giving thanks for having done this when they huddled for a long time in the centre circle afterwards.
Yet, it could so easily have been SuperSport celebrating a second successive win over Pirates – Gordon Igesund’s men having fashioned enough chances to win the match.
When they opened the scoring via Thuso Phala’s sweetly struck shot from inside the box after an inch-perfect diagonal through ball from Morné Nel, SuperSport took the ascendancy of the match. But when substitute Ryan Chapman shot directly at Brighton Mhlongo with his first touch just before the half hour mark after Lehlogonolo Masalesa’s blunder in midfield, you knew supersport would live to regret their misses.
Pirates could have done so early on but Ntshikelelo Nyauza had his header cleared off the line while Daine Klate had his appeal for a Roscoe Pietersen handball inside the box turned down by the referee, who later sent the SuperSport defender off for a second bookable offense.
Then United’s Dino Ndlovu missed a sitter on 50 minutes after having been set free by Lebogang Manyama as the Pirates defensive frailties came to the fore once more.
Issa Sarr would head home the equaliser from a corner kick he had forced out of Williams with his attempt at goal and it appeared the points would be shared only for Myeni to send an arrow piercing through SuperSport hearts with his injury time goal.
Myeni would have been happy given that he wasted an opportunity to equalise on 34 minutes when he headed against the side-netting with no one marking him.
In the end though, this match once again illustrated the old problem of South African football as both sides wasted countless chances.
For Pirates, Kermit Erasmus was at his wasteful best, the striker spurning two good chances within the initial quarter hour. First he fluffed a fantastic chance on six minutes when after being gifted the ball by a Sibusiso Khumalo mistake, shooting tamely at goal.
Then on 12 minutes he received a superb cross from Patrick Phungwayo but he dillydallied with the ball before shooting at Williams, who saved easily when a first-time shot would probably have yielded a goal.
SuperSport also had two chances in this busy period, Nel sending a loose ball over from close range following a free kick before Mhlongo got off his line to clear looming danger as Dino Ndlovu looked to meet a Phala through ball.
On the positive though, both Williams and Mhlongo deserved credit for the many splendid saves they pulled off in the match.
BALL WATCHING: Kermit Erasmus (left) was wasteful in front of goal for Orlando Pirates, missing at least two chances to put his team ahead against SuperSport United at Peter Mokaba Stadium yesterday.