Orlando Pirates on a roll as they methodically see off Bloem Celtic
Orlando Pirates, struggling with inconsistency at tail end of 2020 and start of 2021, have hit form again, methodically notching another DStv Premiership victory 2-1 against Bloemfontein Celtic in Soweto on Tuesday evening.
Fortune Makaringe 62nd-minute strike separated the teams at Orlando Stadium.
Pirates are on a roll. Previously when they have found a stride under Josef Zinnbauer Bucs have notched results with ruthless precision. Their current run is taking such a shape, as the PSL title contenders and MTN8 winners went to seven league and cup matches unbeaten, six of those victories.
Pirates’ last result was Saturday’s Nedbank Cup win against Maritzburg United in Pietermaritzburg where they rallied from a goal down with three goals in an impressive second half.
It was a sign that things had been going well that coach Josef Zinnbauer made one change to his XI for a second game in a row. Kabelo Dlamini, who scored and set up another off the bench against United, came into the starting line-up for Thabang Monare.
Celtic had sagged to 11th place coming into the game from just two wins in their last 11 league matches.
Phunya Sele Sele made life tough for Bucs with a good level of organisation and bright period just back from the break where they created two chances.
It was Pirates, though, who displayed application and concentration edging most of the rest of the 90 minutes.
Both teams struggled for a final pass in the opening half. Pirates had possession without penetration, until they got behind the Free Staters’ defence with a flurry of half-chances in the six minutes before the break.
Paseka Mako played Vincent Pule into space in the left in the 39th, who crossed behind Deon Hotto, the Namibian’s technique for a bicycle kick admirable, but unable to keep the ball under the bar.
A free-kick by Pule and drive from Makaringe were hit with power, but harmlessly high.
Celtic goalkeeper Jackson Mabokgwane was finally tested in the 45th, Kabelo Dlamini seeing a shot on the edge of the box blocked and the rebound looping to right-back Siphesihle Ndlovu, whose volley was low and on target.
Back from the break Pule struck past the upright for Pirates, and Celtic centre-forward Victor Letsoalo was played through to force a save from Richard Ofori.
The Ghanaian goalkeeper was called on again from Celtic’s best move. Letsoalo was played down the right and passed inside for the late run of Lucky Baloyi, who burst through from a one-two off substitute Harris Tchilimbou and shot into the chest of Ofori.
Makaringe opened the scoring with a goal from nothing. Receiving the ball wide on the left the midfielder skipped past a few challenges on a run inside and punted a strike from the edge of the D that zipped in low between diving Mabokgwane and the left upright.
Other DStv Premiership results:
Tuesday March 2 2021:
Orlando Pirates 1 - 0 Bloemfontein Celtic
AmaZulu 1 - 0 SuperSport United
TS Galaxy 2 - 1 Swallows FC
Maritzburg United 1 - 0 Black Leopards