South Africa: Sundowns Sink Pirates in High-Octane Clash

21 September 2023

Orlando Pirates could not weather the storm as they were beaten 1-0 by Mamelodi Sundowns in a Premier Soccer League clash at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday.

Lucas Ribeiro Costa scored from the penalty spot after 12 minutes to settle the contest as Masandawana maintained their 100 percent record in the league this season.

The Brazilians have now won all their seven league matches this term and are seven points clear at the top of the table.

Sundowns have also now gone unbeaten in the PSL for over a year, having last tasted defeat on 2 September 2022 when they lost 2-1 to Tshwane rivals SuperSport United.

After Wednesday's result, Pirates marked this season's reputation as an inconsistent side in the league and they drop from ninth to 11th.

Pirates coach Jose Riveiro made a brave decision of starting midfielder Sephelo Baloni who was making his debut in such a pressure cooker game.

Moroccan defender Abdel Boutouil returned for Sundowns whose coach Rhulani Mokwena fielded familiar faces.

Baloni's debut quickly turned into a nightmare when he earned the visitors a penalty after fouling Themba Zwane inside the box.

Up-stepped Ribeiro who made no mistake in beating Sipho Chaine from the spot and it was the Brazilian forward's fifth league goal of the season.

The Buccaneers almost replied on 22 minutes when Baloni dispossessed Rivaldo Coetzee at the back but goalkeeper Ronwen Williams rescued Masandawana by clearing danger.

Sundowns were always a threat with Peter Shalulile, Zwane and Ribeiro shaking the Pirates rearguard but were not sharp enough in the final third to cushion their lead.

Early into the second half, Shalulile broke loose but his curler lacked power to trouble Chaine.

Mokwena appeared to have plotted well to have his defenders shackle Zakhele Lepasa whose only threat came on the hour mark but blasted his effort over the bar from a tight angle.

From this stage, Pirates were now offering their visitors a stern challenge as they pressed for a comeback but Masandawana defenders were unyielding.

It was some relentless pressure from the Sea Robbers whose substitutes Deon Hotto, Lesedi Kapinga and Kermit Erasmus kept Sundowns defenders very busy.

But the Tshwane giants did well to repel attack after attack from their hosts.


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