Orlando Pirates 1-0 Chippa United: Gabuza on target as Micho guides Bucs to first league win
The 30-year-old repaid Micho's faith to start him ahead of Ndoro with a powerful header inside the opening seven minutes

Micho Sredojevic got his Orlando Pirates tenure off to a perfect start with a 1-0 win over Chippa United on Saturday night.

Thamsanqa Gabuza, who was criticized for the better of last season, scored the only goal of the game in front of a decent crowd at the Orlando Pirates.

Sredojevic unleashed a few of his new signings, with Musa Nyatama and Thamsanqa Sangweni deployed in central midfield alongside Mpho Makola and Thabo Qalinge.

Wayne Sandilands also made his Pirates debut ahead of Jackson Mabokgwane and Siyabonga Mpontshane as the home side took no chances in the last line of defence.

Innocent Maela and Mthokozisi Dube were also handed starts against the Chilli Boys, and the two full-backs did well for themselves despite being under immense pressure at times.

Chippa United on the other hand, fielded a strong side consisting of James Okwuosa, who has just returned to the club after an unsuccessful career at the Sea Robbers.

Another former Pirates player, Brighton Mhlongo was also handed a start in between the sticks.

The lanky goalkeeper showed why he Pirates should have never let him go with a brilliant save to deny Mpho Makola seven minutes into the game.

Chippa looked disjointed and struggled to keep up with the pace of the game in the opening 20 minutes, but should have punished Pirates in the 31st minute.

Moeketsi Sekola, another new signing by Chippa, wasted a glorious chance to put the visitors in front, and the scoreline remained at 0-0, thanks to Sandilands, who rushed off his line to thwart the former Free State Stars marksman.

Gabuza broke the deadlock with a fine header from inside the six-yard box after some good display, with Maela grabbing the assist.

The two sides were sloppy and the final 10 minutes wasn’t as entertaining, but Micho would be pleased with his team’s efforts as they showed hunger and discipline in all departments.

Dan Malesela would surely be very disappointed with how his charges chased the game because there were moments when they should have punished the home side.

Whatever Malesela said to his players at half-time really worked as Chippa United came back stronger, and often looked dangerous on the ball, with Mark Mayambela, another former Bucs player, in the thick of things.

Perhaps the substitution of Nyatama motivated them as Makola took time to adjust alongside Sangwen in central midfield, but one thing Chippa did right in the second half was to limit the supply from midfield, turning Gabuza into a passenger.

Micho realized that Gabuza wasn’t going to offer much upfront, and he immediately introduced Tendai Ndoro, who used his pace well to keep the Chilli Boys defence on their toes in the final minutes of the game.

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Makola also struggled to keep up in midfield, and he was replaced by Issa Sarr as the Buccaneers shut the back to protect their lead.

In the end, Pirates walked away with all the points on offer, handing Sredojevic a perfect start on his return to the hot seat, a decade after leaving the club.

However, they shouldn’t get carried away, especially as it is evident that they need to be scoring more goals and win their matches convincingly.  

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