Orlando Pirates Free State Stars PSL


The first half saw Stars do little more than get men behind the ball in an attempt to frustrate Pirates, who had no real answer to their opponent’s tactics and only began to offer a genuine threat in attack as the interval approached.

However, Ea Lla Koto goalkeeper Glenn Verbauwede – on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns and making his debut in this match – was not all that convincing in the early stages.

His first involvement was allowing a Kermit Erasmus shot to slip through his hands, but luckily for him he did just enough to deflect the ball over the crossbar.

Pirates were lucky not to be reduced to 10 men five minutes before halftime when Khethowakhe Masuku, in retaliation to a tackle, appeared to deliberately kick Bokang Thlone in the face while both players were on the ground.

There was sanction for the Bucs winger, but Thlone was forced to retire from the game with a reported broken jaw. He was replaced at the start of the second half by Katlego Mashego.

But a few minutes before the interval the Soweto side came within inches of opening the scoring. Ntsikelelo Nyauza provided a cross from the right and Erasmus directed a header beyond the reach of Verbauwede, only to see the ball rebound off the crossbar.

Pirates threatened again early in the second half when Mpho Makola got on the end of a ball in the Stars penalty area, but his side-foot volley was brilliantly tipped over the bar by a more confident Verbauwede.

At the other end of the field Senzo Meyiwa was a virtual spectator for the majority of the match, but he had to be on his toes in the 69th minute to make a sharp save at his near post when Stars’ lone striker, Richard Henyekane, used his pace on a counter attack to offer a rare threat for the visitors.

Yet just three minutes later the Buccaneers finally broke the deadlock. Patrick Phungwayo provided a lovely cross from out wide and Klate cracked the ball into the back of the net with a sweetly-struck left-footed volley.

Stars almost equalised before the end of regulation time. Henyekane forced Meyiwa into a great save from an 89th minute free-kick, and the subsequent corner kick saw the home side’s defence twice clear efforts off their own goalline – one which appeared to cross the line.