Orlando Pirates moved to the top of the DStv Premiership table with a 1-0 win over Marumo Gallants on Wednesday night.

Pirates rotated the side that drew against SuperSport United, as Innocent Maela, Paseka Mako, Bandile Shandu and Zakhele Lepasa were brought in and were without Thembinkosi Lorch while Gallants gave a debut to new signing Ivorian, Olivier Toure.

The Buccaneers had a dream start after Mako gave them the lead in the third minute with a tap-in into an empty net after Lepasa’s cross-cum-shot ricocheted off the bottom near post.

Jose Riveiro’s charges had their tails up going forward, with the pace of Lepasa stretching the Gallants defence but they could not sustain their pressure and rhythm for longer periods.

Bahlabane Ba Ntwa grew in the game as a result, with the likes of Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo looking lively in midfield but they were not getting behind the Pirates defence, as goalkeeper Richard Ofori only had one save to make just before the half-time break, down his throat after a shot from range by Ndlondlo.

Lepasa had a big chance to double the lead for Pirates on the stroke of halftime after he went clear on goal from Kabelo Dlamini’s defence-splitting pass but his chipped effort over shot-stopper Washington Arubi.

Pirates carried the momentum into the second half, as Arubi kept Gallants in the game just after the restart after he was made to stretch by a dipping low strike from range by Vincent Pule.

Romain Folz’s men had a better ball retention in the second half as they looked to break the Pirates defence but they were unable to find a way past the Pirates defence.

The hosts were forced to make a double change in the last 20 minutes after a clash of heads between Tapelo Xoki and Nkosinathi Sibisi and they were replaced by Olisa Ndah and Deon Hotto.

The pace of the game slowed down in the closing stages, with more stoppages and Gallants lacked the sense of urgency, as they kept on playing possession football mainly in their own half.

Pirates managed to hold on in the end as they went up to the top of the table by one point, although they have played one extra game.

Categories: Sport

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