SuperSport United 1-0 Orlando Pirates: Clayton Daniels does the damage as Bucs' woes continue
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It’s worrying times for the Buccaneers as their woes continued on Wednesday night in Mbombela

Orlando Pirates’ winless streak in all competitions was extended to six games as they Clayton Daniels headed home to give SuperSport United the three points.

Pirates were hoping to keep up with log leaders Bidvest Wits as they resumed Premier Soccer League (PSL) action on Wednesday night.

The two teams were inactive over the past weekend and Pirates, in particular, had a point to prove as they were recently beaten by Esperance in the Caf Champions League.

Nonetheless, as Bucs took to the Mbombela Stadium pitch, images of a previous 6-1 defeat which came at the same venue in 2016 were still fresh in their minds.

Pirates though, were undeterred as they came out the gate guns blazing with the trio of Vincent Pule, Thembinkosi Lorch and Justin Shonga leading the line, causing danger.

The attackers amassed an impressive tally of 14 goals between them prior to kick-off and much was expected from them by the Pirates technical team as they looked to expose the ageing legs of Daniels.

Matsatsantsa, on the other hand, were looking to build on their recent win over Golden Arrows and they were certainly confident going into the game.

With SuperSport fielding a healthy blend of youth and experience they would have been optimistic especially as Mxolisi Macuphu started upfront alongside Bradley Grobler.

However, the SuperSport duo saw precious little of the ball during the opening stages, with the action concentrated in their own half.

That was until SuperSport had the game’s first real chance as a quick counter-attack saw Siyabonga Nhlapo with only Pirates keeper Wayne Sandilands to beat. But the former Sundowns shot-stopper produced a fantastic save to keep the scores level.

Pirates’ first real chance to test Ronwen Williams fell to Ben Motshwari, who could not trouble the South Africa international with a rather tame effort from the edge of the area.

Meanwhile, Sandilands was single-handedly standing between SuperSport and a goal as Daniels got his head onto a delightful set piece just before the half-hour mark, but the keeper dived to his left to keep out the veteran’s header.

The Buccaneers were exposed at the back due to the pace of the SuperSport frontline and the away side were lucky not to be heading into the break a goal down as the Tshwane-based outfit were guilty of squandering gluttony of chances.

Bucs netted 27 goals prior to kick-off and they came out for the second half determined, knowing all too well what was at stake. They bossed the midfield battle and looked far more comfortable on the ball, while SuperSport set back and looked to soak in the pressure.

Pirates’ intricate passing game was also a factor and had it not been for a few close offside calls. It could have been an entirely different ball game. But despite Pirates’ dominance, their casualness on the ball was putting them in a few sticky situations although Sandilands was standing tall and proving a thorn in SuperSport’s plans.

But his resistance was eventually breached on the 65th-minute mark as Daniels once again exploited his side’s aerial prowess and superbly headed the ball beyond the Soweto giant’s keeper.

Pirates immediately responded by throwing on Luvuyo Memela, who made his long-awaited return from injury along with the big frame of Thamsanqa Gabuza.

SuperSport failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five league games which certainly gave the opposition confidence and saw them pile on the pressure with just over 20 minutes to go.

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First the Buccaneers thought they were back in the game, only for Shonga’s effort to be ruled out for offside, before Williams produced a save out of the top drawer to keep out Lorch’s rasping effort.

Bucs’ pressure eventually paid off when Evans Rusike was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area and they were given a chance to equalise. But Williams, who has made a name for himself by stopping penalties, stepped up to the spot and kept out Happy Jele’s penalty before Shonga fluffed the rebound.

The pressure on the Pirates players and the technical team was palpable, and Milutin Sredojevic cut a dejected figure as he watched his side struggle to break down the SuperSport defence as they suffered their first defeat since August of 2018 in the league.

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