Pirates opened their league account with a 1-0 defeat to AmaZulu at the FNB Stadium on Thursday night
Orlando Pirates welcomed AmaZulu in their opening league match at the FNB Stadium on Thursday night, and the two teams were a bit cautious in the opening two minutes of the game.
However, Kermit Erasmus was first to test Aubrey Mathibe with a well taken shot from distance in the 3rd minute, and the AmaZulu keeper parried for a corner.
Pirates continued to create goalscoring opportunities after that shot, but they often blasted their shots over the bar and wide of Mathibe’s posts.
AmaZulu took the lead with their first shot at goal in the 31st minute through Bongani Ndulula who dribbled past two of the Pirates defenders before beating Senzo Meyiwa with a sublime finish.
The home side put their opponents under pressure after conceding that goal, but the AmaZulu defence never allowed them space to enter into dangerous areas and they were then forced to shoot from range.
Collins Mbesuma tried his luck just outside the Usuthu penalty box in the 37th minute, but Mathibe was clever enough to tip the shot over the bar.
Erasmus came close before the halftime, but his headed effort sailed narrowly over the bar from Sifiso Myeni’s free-kick, as the score remained 1-0 to Usuthu at the end of the first 45 minutes.
Pirates started the second half on the attacking mode, but AmaZulu were resistant at the back and did not allow any of the Pirates strikers to enter their penalty area.
Erasmus tried with a left-footed shot from outside the Usuthu box in the 55th minute, but Mathibe put his body on the line to make fine save.
Erasmus squandered a clear-cut opportunity to put Pirates level in the 60th minute, after brilliantly beating the AmaZulu defence, only for Mathibe to make a fine block.
The home side looked dejected at this stage as they could not find their way past the AmaZulu defence, and Roger de Sa was forced to introduce Lennox Bacela for Collins Mbesuma.
He later replaced William Twala with Joseph Molangoane as he looked for an equalizer with less than 20 minutes to go.
The Buccaneers came close in the 77th minute when Thabo Matlaba steamed into the Usuthu box from the left hand side, but his shot went across the face of Mathibe’s goal.
Myeni had a chance to take a shot from the edge of the Usuthu box, but there too many bodies in front of him and his shot went wide.
Andile Jali should have done better with three minutes left on the clock after some poor defending from Usuthu, but the Pirates midfielder ballooned his shot way over the bar.
Bacela missed another good chance to level matters in the dying minutes of the game after a well played cross into the AmaZulu box, and despite beating Mathibe in the air, the former Bloem Celtic man failed to direct his header into the net.
Pirates still had time to equalize, but Mathibe denied Matlaba with a brilliant save deep in stoppage time, as AmaZulu recorded a famous win over the Soweto giants and maintaining their unbeaten record against Pirates since 2010.