Pirates beat Chiefs in Soweto derby thriller

Vincent Pule of Orlando Pirates challenged by Khama Billiat of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 27 October 2018.

Vincent Pule of Orlando Pirates challenged by Khama Billiat of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership 2018/19 match between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 27 October 2018.


JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates came storming back from an early setback to beat Kaizer Chiefs 2-1 in a humdinger of a Premiership Soweto derby at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Too often in recent years have games between South Africa's two best supported clubs been over-hyped and failed to deliver on the entertainment factor. This was anything but the case on Saturday in what was an absolutely pulsating encounter, full of drama, action and goals, in front of a packed house which made for an electric atmosphere throughout.

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It had looked good for the Glamour Boys when Khama Billiat gave them a 15th minute lead and then Itumeleng Khune saved a Justin Shonga penalty. But Bucs had other ideas as they fired in two goals in quick succession around the half hour mark, before soaking up some second half pressure to secure a second successive league victory over their arch rivals.

Derby bragging rights aside, the league win keeps the Buccaneers within just one point of log leaders Bidvest Wits.

Pirates made a decent enough start to the game, but it was their goalkeeper, Siyabonga Mpontshane, who had the first work of the afternoon when he came rushing out his box in the 13th minute to prevent Billiat going clean in on goal after a great pass from Bernard Parker.

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And just two minutes later, Amakhosi drew first blood when Mpontshane fumbled a cross from the left from Godfrey Walusimbi which allowed Billiat to tap the ball into the net from just three metres out.

There was another big moment 10 minutes later, when Augustine Mulenga was adjudged to have been fouled in the box by Siyabonga Ngezana after some wonderful interplay with compatriot Justin Shonga.

Shonga was handed the responsibility of the spot kick, but the Zambian appeared to choke under the pressure as his weak spot kick was easily saved by Khune.

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Bucs, however, were not to let that setback get them down and the equaliser arrived just moments later when Innocent Maela arched his body superbly to plant a header in at the far post following a 30th minute corner.

There was delirium for the Sea Robbers supporters two minutes later, when Shonga's delightful ball put in Mulenga, who had the presence of mind to eliminate Khune with a square pass to Vincent Pule, allowing the former Bidvest Wits man to tap in easily for a goal on his Soweto derby debut.

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Now with their tails up, Pirates were looking to kill Chiefs off with a third goal and it took a brilliant tackle from Ngezana to stop Shonga from going in on goal, before Ben Motshwari twice went relatively close with shots from the edge of the area..

An incisive run and pass by Siphelele Ntshangase seconds after the restart should have resulted in an equaliser for Leonardo Castro, but the Colombian's shot from 12-yards out lacked any conviction and Mpontshane made a comfortable stop.

More chances followed for Amakhosi as Dumisani Zuma tested Mpontshane with a low drive from the edge of the box, before Billiat looked set to score from 10-yards out, only for Happy Jele to make a brilliant last-gasp tackle as the action continued at breakneck speed.

Shonga was then guilty of another miss when from close range he fired over an open goal after Khune had spilled Mulenga's cross on the hour mark.

With coach Milutin Sredojevic's men looking to take the sting out of the game, it took another 15 minutes for the next goalmouth action to arrive, which saw Billiat's cross-come-shot just failing to land in the top corner of the net with Mpontshane back-peddling.

Ngezana also sent a header over the bar in the 81st minute, but after that Pirates did well to limit Chiefs' chances on goal and they could have even added a third had Motshwari been more accurate after being teed up by the outstanding Mulenga. 

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