SuperSport United 2-0 Orlando Pirates: Bucs end disappointing PSL season with defeat
Thamsanqa Gabuza, SuperSport United & Happy Jele, Orlando Pirates, May 2022
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The Buccaneers were reduced to 10 players in the second half after Happy Jele was sent off for fouling his former teammate Thamsanqa Gabuza

Orlando Pirates wrapped up their 2021-22 Premier Soccer League campaign with a disappointing 2-0 defeat to SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Monday evening.

A Fortune Makaringe own-goal handed Matsatsantsa the lead in the first half, before Ghampani Lungu doubled the hosts' lead after the restart. It was a match which saw the Buccaneers being reduced to 10 players following Happy Jele's dismissal as the Houghton-based giants failed to secure a top three finish and qualification for a Caf tournament for the first time since 2017 when they finished 11th on the PSL log.

Co-coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids were forced to make two changes to the Pirates side which drew 2-2 with Royal AM on Friday night in a match which saw Innocent Maela and Ben Motshwari pick up injuries. They were replaced by Happy Jele and Fortune Makaringe in the starting line-up with Bucs looking to win by five clear goals and finish third on the log which would have earned them a spot in next season's Caf Confederation Cup.

On the other hand, SuperSport were boosted by the return of their captain Ronwen Williams having missed three matches due to injury, while Luke Fleurs was oozing with confidence after being named PSL Young Player of the Season on Sunday night. Matsatsantsa had to win the match in order to qualify for next season's MTN8 having lost 3-1 to Baroka FC in their previous match on May 14. 

SuperSport were on the back foot in the opening proceedings with Pirates were searching for an early goal with Kabelo Dlamini and Thembinkosi Lorch seeing a lot of the ball in the hosts' box. The Buccaneers came into this encounter having scored twice within the first six minutes of their match against Royal and they were hoping to stun the three-time PSL champions.

However, Matsatsantsa were able to contain Bucs and they looked dangerous on the counterattack. The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute as SuperSport took a 1-0 lead when Makaringe netted an own goal while attempting to clear away Aubrey Ngoma's curling corner-kick. It should have been 2-0 to the hosts three minutes later, but goalkeeper Richard Ofori superbly denied Iqraam Rayners from point-blank range. 

The Soweto giants responded by exerting pressure on coach Andre Arendse's side with Dlamini forcing goalkeeper Williams into a smart save. The Bafana Bafana captain was then beaten at his near-post, but the upright came to the Tshwane giants' rescue as Kwame Peprah's deflected shot hit the woodwork and Makaringe's shot from the rebound was blocked by Fleurs to ensure that the first half ended with SuperSport leading 1-0. 

Bucs continued to probe after the restart - bombarding the hosts' box with crosses as they searched for the targetman Peprah, but Fleurs and fellow centre back Siyabonga Nhlapo dealt well with the aerial balls. Matsatsantsa continued to look dangerous against the run of play with Thamsanqa Gabuza bursting into the visitors' box before unleashing a shot which went just over the crossbar.

Pirates were reduced to 10 players after Jele was shown a straight red card in the 66th minute having denied the Tshwane giants a clear goalscoring opportunity - pushing Gabuza who had been sent through on goal. Lungu stepped up and he was denied by Ofori from the spot-kick, but the match referee Luxolo Badi ordered a retake as he felt that the Ghanaian keeper had moved from his line before the ball was kicked.

Lungu, who had netted in the first round league clash when SuperSport lost 3-2 to Pirates in Soweto two months ago, made no mistake this time around as he beat Ofori to make it 2-0 in the 69th minute. Matsatsantsa did not take their foot off the pedal after doubling their lead as they continued to surge forward and Ofori produced two good saves to deny Thapelo Maseko.

Ultimately, the match ended in a 2-0 win in favour of SuperSport who finished their campaign eighth on the league standings and booked their spot in the 2022 MTN8. On the other hand, Pirates finished the season in the sixth spot - a point and a place behind their archrivals Kaizer Chiefs.