Pirates eager to rectify their mistakes
Orlando Pirates have paid for slow starts in the past two seasons, during which they were pipped at the post as Absa Premiership runners-up by Mamelodi Sundowns.
They seemed intent on rectifying this with a glimpse of the powerful brand of football they will aim for in 2019-20, sweeping aside Bloemfontein Celtic 3-1 in their league opener.
Pirates had the early lead through Augustine Mulenga. Substitute centreback Mzwandile Mahashe equalised as Bucs consolidated deep to allow Celtic back in the game.
Innocent Maela and substitute Gabadinho Mhango struck in an authoritative second 45 minutes by the Bucs.
Celtic begin 2018-19 with serious question marks over whether they can sustain last season's eighth-placed finish given owner Max Tshabalala's financial strain.
Coach Lehlohonolo Seema had Sipho Chaine in goal ahead of ex-Buccaneer Jackson Mabokgwane.
Pirates started brightly as Musa Nyatama exposed the Celtic central defence with a free header from a corner directed hard at Chaine.
Within minutes they had the lead, again the Free Staters' back four exposed, as Nyatama's excellent low trajectory pass from metres inside his half picked out the run to beat offside of Mulenga on the edge of the area, who advanced alone and beat Chaine.
Bucs, as has been their habit in the past two seasons, consolidated too deep. Celtic gained in confidence from this. Ndumiso Mabena's free kick from left midfield dipped to the feet of defender Mahashe - on for injured Wandisile Letlabika in the seventh minute - who controlled the ball nicely for the nod past Wayne Sandilands.
Pirates came out of the change rooms intent on playing back on the front foot.
From Mulenga's corner 11 minutes in, another player, Maela, was left free by Celtic, but the left-back still had work to do, producing a clinical header past Chaine.
Bucs controlled the game far better in the second half as Ben Motshari and Musa Nyatama won and recycled the ball from within a higher-pressing structure. Mhango poaching Bucs' third, closing off Mahashe's clumsy pass. He advanced down the right and struck powerfully past Chaine.
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