Pirates condemn Sundowns to the bottom of the log with a dominant win at Loftus Versveld
Orlando Pirates collected three points against a woeful Mamelodi Sundowns with a 3-1 win at Loftus Versveld Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Buccaneers were looking to redeem themselves following their shock loss against Bloemfontein Celtic in the Telkom Knockout and Roger de Sa made wholesale changes, notably switching Senzo Meyiwa for Moeneeb Josephs in goal.
Benni McCarthy did not make his much touted return after not passing fit during Pirates training session.
Sundowns had lost five out of eight games in the PSL season before facing Pirates, the worst start in the clubs history. Punch Masanemela returned for the Brazilians who looked to overthrow a Pirates side which has had the edge over Sundowns in past encounters.
But Pirates continued their dominant run against Sundowns with a goal from Thulasizwe Mbuyane early in the first-half and a brilliant finish by Takesure Chinyama in the 41st minute. Sifisio Myeni settled the game in the 82nd minute with a delightful left-footed strike.
Edward Manqele scored a consolation goal for Sundowns in the 87th, but the Brazilians could not ignite a dramatic comeback in the dying stages.
Sundowns started the match well but Pirates scored a goal against the run of play in the 11th minute, with Takesure Chinyama collecting the ball on the right wing and spotting Thulasizwe Mbuyane making a run into the centre of the box.
Chinyama timed his pass perfectly and Mbuyane met the ball with a simple tap-in which gave Pirates a priceless early goal in Tshwane.
Sundowns looked to strike back immediately as Teko Modise came close to scoring against his old club with a powerful strike.
Soon after, the in-form Eleazar Rodgers used his heading prowess with a strong effort towards goal which was well-saved by Meyiwa.
The Brazilians seemed destined to find the equaliser as they continued to control possession and create further chances, troubling the Buccaneers with crosses into the box. Pirates did not look convincing in defence but were still dangerous on the counter-attack.
Takesure Chinyama punished a disjointed Sundowns in the 41st minute after exchanging slick passes in the midfield which created some space on the edge of the box for the striker.
The Zimbabwean took advantage of his position and curled a pinpoint strike passed a diving Wayne Sandilands which found the net via the inside of the right post. It was a spark of attacking genius and Pirates were two goals ahead.
The first half ended with the Buccaneers in complete command in terms of the scoreline. Sundowns needed to start the second half strongly if they had any chance of securing themselves a result.
They were incredibly unlucky in the 53rd minute as William Shongwe unleashed a dipping strike from outside the box which smashed into the underside of the crossbar.
The game had completely opened up in the second half as Sundowns threw men forward with attacking intent. However the Brazilians lacked coherence during the final thirty minutes of the match and could not create any more clear-cut chances.
Sifiso Myeni linked up with Patrick Phungawo in scoring the third goal for Orlando Pirates in the 83rd minute. He worked together with his teammate to create the space he required to score a swerving left-footed strike which proved unstoppable for Wayne Sandilands.
Sundowns were able to score a consolation goal in the 87th minute, as Edward Manqele finished from close range which was the first goal Sundowns have scored since September.
The Buccaneers move to four points behind log leaders Kaizer Chiefs. Sundowns continue to languish in the relegation zone with only five points from nine games casting severe doubt over the future of the embattled Johan Neeskens.