TS Galaxy 1-0 Orlando Pirates: Blunt Bucs' PSL top two ambitions take another knock
Goodman Mosele, Orlando Pirates & Orebotse Mongae, TS Galaxy, May 2022
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Goodman Mosele produced a strong performance in midfield, but it wasn't enough as the Buccaneers registered their fifth league loss of the term 

Orlando Pirates' ambitions of finishing second in the PSL this season took another knock when they succumbed to a 1-0 loss to TS Galaxy on Monday afternoon.

The Buccaneers were hoping to snap their three-match winless run in the local top flight, but Lefa Hlongwane's first half strike earned the Rockets a hard-fought 1-0 win at Mbombela Stadium. The victory eased the Mpumalanga side's relegation fears, while Pirates have now failed to score in their last three PSL matches.

Happy Jele, Linda Mntambo and Goodman Mosele were recalled to the starting line-up as Pirates looked to return to winning ways after drawing 0-0 with Chippa United last week Wednesday. The Buccaneers were looking to complete a league double over Galaxy having claimed a 2-0 win in the first round clash in Soweto five months ago.

Bucs were up against an improving Galaxy side having extended their unbeaten run to three matches when they drew 1-1 with fellow relegation-threatened side Maritzburg United on April 23. Lindokuhle Mbatha, Orebotse Mongae and Hlongwane were deployed as the front three by the Rockets coach Sead Ramovic who opted for speedy attackers.

Galaxy sat back and allowed Pirates to dominate possession with the Buccaneers launching most of their attacks through the wings. Crosses and set-pieces from Thembinkosi and Deon Hotto were top-notch, but the visitors were let down by some poor finishing in front of goal.

The first real chance of the game fell for Terrence Dzvukamanja after the hosts had failed to clear Lorch's set-piece, but the Zimbabwe international ballooned his effort over the crossbar from close range. Innocent Maela then connected with Hotto's cross from the left, but he couldn't keep his header on target as the ball shaved the top of the crossbar.

The Buccaneers were left to rue those two chances when the hosts broke the deadlock after breaking in the right-hand side through Mbatha whose low cut-back pass was turned home by Hlongwane, who netted his second league goal of the season with a tap in to hand Galaxy a 1-0 lead three minutes after the half-hour mark with the Pirates defence exposed. 

With their side having trailed 1-0 at half-time, co-coaches Mandla Ncikazi and Fadlu Davids made a double substitution as they introduced Fortune Makaringe and Kwame Peprah prior to the start of the second half as Pirates looked to level matters. However, the hosts threatened first after the restart as Mongae was sent through on goal but he was superbly denied by goalkeeper Richard Ofori.

Pirates saw most of the ball and they created the better chances with an unmarked Peprah unleashing a powerful shot which narrowly missed the target with keeper Melusi Buthelezi rooted to the ground. Lorch was then afforded space and time to pull the trigger from the edge of the hosts' box, but his low shot shaved the outside of Buthelezi's left upright.

Buthelezi was determined not to concede in the latter stages of the game as the 24-year-old produced great saves to deny Makaringe and Peprah. Ultimately, the match ended in a 1-0 win in favour of Galaxy who claimed their first-ever win over Pirates and the victory elevated the Rockets to the 13th spot on the league standings as they climbed out of the relegation zone. 

Pirates remain fourth on the league standings - four points behind third-placed Cape Town City and five behind second-placed Royal AM as the race to finish second continues. Pirates will now take on Libya's Al-Ittihad in the Caf Confederation Cup semi-final first-leg game on Sunday.