UNITED PI­RATES STEAL VIC­TORY

Myeni’s strike in stop­page time grants Buc­ca­neers a mea­sure of re­venge for Knock­out Cup fail­ure

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - MAT­SHE­LANE MAM­ABOLO

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.

PIC­TURE: GALLO IMAGES

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.

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