Pretoria University lost their first game of the season 2-1 against Orlando Pirates at a sweltering Loftus Versveld Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
A rusty and goal shy Orlando Pirates travelled to Loftus Versveld to face the PSL surprise package Pretoria University. Reeling from their lack of goalscoring form, Pirates needed a strong performance against the high-flying Pretoria side.
AmaTuks, fresh from their 5 - 1 domination of Ajax Cape Town, went into the game with the belief that their unbeaten run could continue against the Buccanneers.
Played in extreme heat at the Loftus Versveld Stadium, the game was watched by a substantial crowd sheltering in the shade.
Bongani Zungu opened the scoring for AmaTuks in the 12th minute and Collins Mbesuma responded with a deft finish for Pirates in the 28th. Jali put the Buccaneers in the lead with a calm penalty kick in the 60th. Mbesuma scored his second in the 66th minute of the game and sealed the victory.
The opening period of the game was dominated by slick passing by Orlando Pirates, as both sides began to settle in to their game tactics, AmaTuks looking to hit the Buccaneers on the counter attack.
This tactic worked perfectly in the 11th minute, as a long ball found AmaTuks striker Bongani Zungu in space behind the Pirates defence.
The defence was easily unlocked and Zungu controlled the ball and sprinted towards goal, leaving Pirates defenders in his wake with only Moeneeb Josephs between him and the opener.
He finished expertly past an advancing Josephs, deftly placing the ball in the left-corner of the goal. The keeper got a slight touch on the ball and it rolled slowly into the vacant goal behind him. AmaTuks were ahead, their dream start to the campaign still a firm reality.
A horrible clash of heads in the 20th minute lead to Thulasizwe Mbuyane being stretched off the field, Pirates losing another striker to injury. He was replaced by the speedy Dane Klate.
Following the substitution, Pirates look to hit back with an equaliser, creating chances in their opposition’s box. Roger De Sa gave his players a tough talk during a much-needed water break and the Buccaneers began to create more pressure.
De Sa’s words seem to spur on his side, as they found the equaliser in the 28th minute. Collins Mbesuma scored the goal created by some speedy counter attacking play by Sifiso Myeni. The new Bafana Bafana midfielder tried to find Mbesuma who was running towards goal.
His attempted through ball spooned off an AmaTuks defender and Mbesuma latched onto the deflection with his left-foot, beating goalkeeper Washington Arubi with a good finish into the right corner of the goal. Pirates had responded in style, the game level again in the first half.
Pirate’s deft passing and possession continued during the opening period. An exciting first-half defied the weather conditions, as both sides looked energetic and up to the task.
The second started in the advancing shade of the Loftus Versveld stadium, a welcome relief for both sides. Pirates looked to continue where they left off in the opening minutes, creating chances with good play on either flank.
AmaTuks almost shocked a dominant Pirates side as Aubrey Ngoma, playing against his old side, showed his class in the 56th minute with a fantastic cross which found Mame Niang, whose header slammed into the right post.
This chance seemed to wake Pirates up as they immediately hit back, but this time with a goal. Oupa Manyisa was taken down in the box, the contact minimal but enough for the referee to award the spot-kick. Jali stepped up and calmly slotted the penalty into the left corner of the net.
Jali’s second goal from the spot this season put Pirates into a deserved lead. The Buccaneers dominance continued and Collins Mbesuma notched up his second of the game in the 67th minute.
The Zambian finished well after linking up with Sifiso Myeni once again. Myeni slid a precise ball into the path of the Mbesuma. His deft left-foot strike created a cushion for Pirates, sealing an important three points which keeps them in the top-half of the log.
AmaTuks dream run has been halted with their first loss of the campaign. They fought hard in the last minutes of the game, but could not pull themselves back into the contest.