Orlando Pirates beat 10 man Platinum Stars in an ill-disciplined affair played at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The game was effected by the referee’s decision to red card Star’s defender Thabiso Semenya, which forced Dikwena to play a defensive minded, counter attacking game.
A good crowd dominated by Pirates supporters, watched Roger De Sa’s first game in charge of the Buccaneers. De Sa was looking to get off to a positive start to his tenure as Pirates coach and would have been pleased about beginning with a hard-fought victory.
The kickoff was delayed by 15 minutes due to a uniform clash between the two sides. Once the game got under way, Platinum stars started brightly forcing Rodi Mahamutsa into a poor tackle which resulted in a yellow card.
Both teams struggled to force any chances in the opening minutes of the game, with the play being dominated by the midfield. Pirates looked to gain a foothold in the game, stringing together passes and looking to find a weakness in the Stars defensive line. They controlled possession and Onyekachi Onkwowo curled a good effort past the far post, as Pirates began building pressure on their opponents.
A long ball caused Thabiso Semenya major problems in the 18th minute as he used his arm to stop the ball from reaching a good run by Pirates striker. He was shown a red by the referee and looked shamefaced due to his indiscretion. Stars were left to play the rest of the game with ten men.
Pirates immediately began to take advantage of their superiority in numbers causing the Platinum Stars defense numerous problems and creating good chances. The red card forced Stars to concentrate on keeping the Buccaneers goalless and they were able to hang on throughout the rest of the first half.
Platinum Stars continued to defend well early in the second half, forcing Pirates to shoot from long range. Pirate’s striker Takesure Chinyama struggled in his Pirates debut, unable to fill in for Benni McCarthy’s injury-induced absence and he was substituted in the 56th minute.
The Buccaneers could not create any real pressure for the majority of the second half, as they lacked penetration and creativity in the midfield. They forced a few chances, but did not have any real clear cut opportunities.
Former Pirates defender Benson Mhlongo gifted an unimpressive Buccaneers side with the opening goal, as his hand ball in the box in the 67th minute broke the deadlock when Andile Jali calmly slotted home his penalty attempt, sending the Pirates players and fans into raptures.
Pirates looked to close out the game and Stars were unable to create any kind of pressure to force an equaliser.
Orlando Pirates take their league tally to seven points and will be looking to build on a rather mediocre performance. Platinum Stars will remain in the bottom half of the table following this result.