Monnapule Saleng, Orlando Pirates, October 2022Backpagepix

Orlando Pirates grab Soweto Derby bragging rights as Saleng makes strong case for PSL Player of the Season award

  • Saleng grabbed his maiden PSL hat-trick
  • Pirates boosted their Caf Champions League hopes
  • Bucs will now lock horns with Venda

WHAT HAPPENED?: The Buccaneers bounced back to winning ways in the Premier Soccer League in style in a match played at Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto.

Pirates got off to the perfect start as Monnapule Saleng broke the deadlock just six minutes into the game after being set-up by Kabelo Dlamini.

Swallows launched several attacks as they looked to level matters, but the visitors stood firm at the back and the first-half ended with Pirates leading 1-0 at half-time.

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It took just two minutes for Terrence Dzvukamanja to double Pirates' lead after the restart as the Zimbabwe international netted his third goal of the season with Saleng providing the assist.

Amaswaiswai were struggling to contain Bucs' pacey front-three Thembinkosi Lorch, Dzvukamanja and Saleng who grabbed his brace on the hour-mark to extend Bucs' lead.

The hosts launched late attacks as they looked to pull one back and they did score through Mthokozisi Shwabule who netted in the 76th minute after the away side was caught napping at the back.

However, Saleng was not done yet as the left-footed player grabbed his maiden hat-trick in the PSL when netted in stoppage time to seal Pirates' emphatic 4-1 win over Swallows.

ALL EYES ON: Saleng as the goalscoring winger dazzled in the original Soweto Derby.

The Bafana Bafana international grabbed a hat-trick to take his tally to 12 goals from 18 matches across all competitions in the current season and he also walked away with his ninth Man of the Match accolade for this term.

Saleng played a vital role in helping the Buccaneers clinch the MTN8 title and he also picked up Man of Match awards in the PSL and Nedbank Cup this term.

This makes the 2020-21 NFD Golden Boot winner a potential candidate for the PSL Footballer of the Season award.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The win saw the Buccaneers grab the Soweto Derby bragging rights as they consoled themselves after losing 1-0 to their arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs last weekend.

Despite the victory, Bucs remained third on the PSL standings, but they are now two points behind second-placed SuperSport United who have a game in hand.

Pirates are looking to secure a top two finish in the league in order to qualify for next season's Caf Champions League.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR PIRATES?: The Buccaneers will now take on Venda FA in Nedbank Cup Last 16 match at Orlando Stadium on March 11.

This will be the first-ever meeting between Pirates and the NFD side.