Bucs come back from behind to edge the Students
Orlando Pirates made it two wins a row after coming back from a goal down to beat Bidvest Wits 2-1 in the Absa Premiership match at the Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night.
Kermit Erasmus came off the bench early in second half to score the winner in 73rd minute after Helder Pelembe cancelled out Sibusiso Vilakazi’s first-half opener in the 11 minutes after the break. The win takes coachless Orlando Pirates to 6th on the log with 23 points after 12 matches, while Bidvest Wits remain 5th on the log with 25 points after 14 matches.
Orlando Pirates caretaker coach Eric Tinkler didn’t make any changes to the line-up that beat Ajax Cape Town 2-1 in their last outing, while Bidvest Wits mentor Cavin Hunt included new striker Sthembiso Ngcobo in the attack alongside Calvin Kadi.
The Buccaneers started brightly and they almost took the lead when Lehlohonolo Masalesa blasted over the bar from close range and unmarked at the back post after a flick on by Happy Jele following a corner-kick barely a minute into the match.
Then the forward Helder Pelembe shot high and wide from outside the area in the 5th minute as the host pilled pressure on their opponents. The long range strikes looked to be on the heads of the Bucs as Masuku unleashed a 30-yard long-range shot that sailed over the bar after 19 minutes.
A minute later, Bidvest Wits took the surprising lead. Right-back Siyabong Nhlapo crossed from the right flank and his delivery connected with Bafana Bafana attacking midfielder Sibusiso Vilakazi, who beat Happy Jele to the ball before slotting it past Senzo Meyiwa in the bottom corner, 0-1.
The trailing side didn’t stop attacking despite being goal down, and they almost got back on level terms when Happy Jele charged on the right flank before crossing for Helder Pelembe, who unleashed a first-time stinging shot on target but Moeneeb Josephs showed great reflexes by pushing the away to safety in the 25th minute.
The former Orlando Pirates goalkeeper had to be at his best again to deny Khethokwakhe Masuku after the winger unleashed a left-footed long-range effort nine minutes later. Left-back Thabo Matlaba was next to try his luck from range but he effort went wide of Moenneb Josephs’s goal five minutes before the break.
They were no clear-cut chances going to the break and Bidvest Wits took their lead to half-time.
The Buccaneers started the second half the best way when they almost levelled the score four minutes from the restart when Khethokwake Masuku was unselfish in the area and passed Happy Jele inside the area, but the defender ballooned his shot over the bar from close range.
Then two minutes later the Students almost came close to making it 2-0 when Sthembiso Ngcobo directed his diving header wide after a cross from the right by Erwin Isaacs. In the 56th minute, Orlando Pirates were back on level terms.
Mozambican striker Helder Pelembe beat his marker to connect with Khethokwakhe Masuku’s corner-kick and headered past helpless Moeneeb Josephs, 1-1. Then Thabo Matlaba almost made it 2-1 few seconds later but his low shot went just wide of the mark.
In the 65th minute, Orlando Pirates had a penalty appeal waved away by referee when Helder Pelembe looked to have went down under the challenge of Omnismor Bashera, but the referee was not convinced. Eight minutes later, the host took the lead.
Thabo Matlaba did well to chest trap a long through ball on the left flank before crossing for second-half substitute Kermit Erasmus, whose header went in via the underside of the bar from close range, 2-1.
Bidvest Wits tried to throw everything they had in the closing stages of the match, but Orlando Pirates stood firm at the back and didn’t allow their opponents much space at the back.
Orlando Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele, Matlaba, Gcaba, Lekgwathi ©, Masalesa (Erasmus 45’), Ntshumayelo, Masuku (Makola 86’), Ngoma (Myeni 55’), Manyisa, Pelembe.
Bidvest Wits: Josephs, Booth (Dwakae 64’), Pattison (Gibeto 77’), Bhasera, Nhlapo, Mngonyama, Faty, Vilakazi ©, Isaacs (Madubanya 61’), Kadi, Ngcobo.