Orlando Pirates 2-1 Free State Stars: Gabuza nets late as Bucs finish season with a win
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Goals from Ntsikelelo Nyauza and Thamsanqa Gabuza handed Bucs the win, while Ea Lla Koto netted through Nhlanhla Vilakazi

Orlando Pirates beat Free State Stars 2-1 in a PSL match which was played at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Milutin Sredojevic decided to make six changes to the team that faced Cape Town City two weeks ago with the Buccaneers having already secured a second place finish in the league.

Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Marshall Munetsi and Augustine Mulenga made their return to the starting line-up as Bucs looked to bounce back to winning ways having lost 1-0 to City in the Mother City.

Luc Eymael fielded four former Pirates players Rooi Mahamutsa, Patrick Phungwayo, Paulus Masehe and Siphelele Mthembu as Stars looked to end their six match winless run in the league.

The Buccaneers saw most of the ball in the opening stages of the game as they searched for an early, but the Ea Lla Koto defence looked solid and organized.

However, the visitors' defence was caught napping from a corner-kick 23 minutes into game after Thabo Qalinge's effort was blocked and Bucs were awarded a corner-kick.

Justin Shonga's corner-kick was headed home by Nyauza to make it 1-0 to Pirates with the defender netting his third league goal of the season.

The goal did not come as a surprise as Soweto giants have netted 17.9% of their goals between the 15-30 minutes of the game.

Stars then pushed for the equalizing goal with Sinethemba Jantjie causing havoc for the Pirates defence which was marshalled by Happy Jele.

The hosts' defence looked solid and organized, and there was no supply for strikers Mthembu and Harris Tchilimbou.

Pirates suffered a blow just before the break as goalscorer Nyauza sustained and injury and he was replaced by Gladwin Shitolo.

However, they managed to hold on to their lead and Pirates were leading 1-0 at the interval.

The visitors got off to a bright start in the second half and they managed to level matters through Nhlanhla Vilakazi in the 51st minute.

Masehe set-up Vilakazi, who made no mistake as he beat Bucs shot-stopper Wayne Sandilands to make it 1-1 silencing the home crowd in the process.

Ea Lla Koto did not sit back after equalizing as they continued to launch attacks and came close to scoring through Goodman Dlamini.

The former AmaZulu FC playmaker forced Sandilands into a fine save with former Mamelodi Sundowns keeper keeping Stars at bay.

Sredojevic reacted by introduce Thamsanqa Gabuza with 10 minutes left and the Buccaneers pushed for a late winning goal.

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Gabuza proved to be a super-sub as he grabbed a late goal when scored from a rebound after Justin Shonga's shot was saved.

Pirates then stood firm at the back and ultimately, they secured a 2-1 victory over City on the day. 

Despite the win, Pirates finish the season on position two on the league standings, while Stars also remain sixth on the table.
 

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