Pirates squeeze into the top eight

Pirates squeeze into the top eight

Pirates beat Chippa and moved up into the top eight bracket on the standings.

Chippa United were sucked closer to the relegation zone after a 2-1 Premiership defeat to Orlando Pirates at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night left them without a win in 11 league games.

With head coach Dan Malesela not on the bench and seemingly on the way out, the Port Elizabeth club find themselves just two points above the drop zone with four matches to play.

Pirates, deserved winners on the night after a decent performance, moved up into the top eight bracket on the standings (above Arrows on goal difference) after having claimed eight points from their last four matches.

The Chilli Boys had the first chance of the game in the 10th minute when a poor clearance by Ayanda Gcaba allowed Andile Mbenyane to get in a shot from the edge of the box, Bucs keeper Siyagonga Mpontshane forced into making a diving save to keep the ball out his net.

Pirates began to find their rhythm after around 20 minutes and had chances as Issa Sarr sent a header from a tight angle wide of an open goal before visiting keeper Zama Dlamini did superbly to tip Abbubaker Mobara’s rasping drive over the bar.

Bucs were in front on the half hour mark thanks to a moment of individual brilliance from Thamsanqa Gabuza, who sent a spectacular overhead kick into the bottom corner following Thabo Matlaba’s cross.

Bucs continued to attack and looked good for a second goal. But instead Paseka Mako silenced the Soweto crowd in first half added time when he cut in from the left flank and squeezed a low finish through the legs of Mpontshane to level matters.

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Thembinkosi Lorch, though, should have put the Sea Robbers back in front of goal seconds before the break, but fluffed a great chance right in front of goal against his former club.

But Thabo Matlaba was to choose a the perfect moment for his first goal of the season, his long range shot from 30-yards dipping and swerving through the air and proving too much for Dlamini; the Soweto side 2-1 ahead in the 65th minute.

Pirates with their tails up and the confidence flowing, a scintillating move five minutes later could have yielded a third, but Matlaba fired over the bar from 18-yards out.

Chippa had their moments, but never really looked like scoring again, while Tendai Ndoro almost got in on the act for Pirates when his low drive went marginally wide.

The Chilli Boys’ problems were compounded when captain Thamsanqa Sangweni’s night ended in the 85th minute after a second yellow card.

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