Makgopa the hero for Pirates

football02 March 2024 17:55| © Backpage TXT

Orlando Pirates picked up their first win in four matches after they edged Polokwane City 1-0 at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.

Jose Riveiro's side went above Stellenbosch in the standings to close within two points of the CAF Champions League places in third position, with Rise And Shine kept out of the top eight on goal difference after suffering their first defeat in four outings.

Phuti Mohafe's side got off to a winning start after the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations break when they beat troubled Moroka Swallows 1-0 on 17 February to go three games unbeaten in the DStv Premiership, while Pirates took two points off league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns in a 1-1 draw later that same day to snap a two-match losing streak.

The visitors bossed proceedings in the first half and created the better chances, with the woodwork coming to Polokwane's rescue seven minutes before halftime.

Manuel Sapunga was called into action after just two minutes as Relebohile Mofokeng directed Thabiso Monyane's searching ball straight into his gloves before Patrick Maswanganyi cleared the target with a strike from range on seven minutes.

The hosts' best chance saw Oswin Appollis curl his free-kick onto the roof of the net from just outside the box on 35 minutes and they were saved by the frame of the goal three minutes later when Karim Kimvuidi rattled the post with a shot on the turn inside the area.

Sapunga was also required to keep out a curling effort from Mofokeng in the 44th minute after the winger cut inside from the right flank to create a shooting opportunity.

Rise And Shine looked more threatening in the second half and they tested Sipho Chaine twice in the space of three minutes after the hour mark as Thabang Matuludi managed to hit the target with a free-kick before Mokibelo Ramabu forced the keeper into a save in the 65th minute.

However, the breakthrough arrived at the other end soon afterwards when Evidence Makgopa steered a header into the bottom corner of the net from Deon Hotto's excellent cross on 68 minutes.

The Soweto giants didn't sit on their one-goal lead though, and they almost scored again in stoppage time, but Kabelo Dlamini was unfortunate to see his shot come back off the post after he collected the ball on the left and took a pop at goal.

Polokwane have an eight-day break before they are back in action against Golden Arrows at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday, 10 March.

Bucs will feature again in midweek when they welcome rock-bottom cape Town Spurs to the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday, 6 March.

Polokwane City: (0) 0

Orlando Pirates: (0) 1 (Makgopa 68')

Polokwane City: M. Sapunga, T. Matuludi, B. Nikani, L. Nkaki, L. Ndlovu, M. Kambala, M. Ramabu, N. Maphangule (N. Mabena 84'), O. Appollis (T. Nkwe 76'), G. Mashikinya (C. Alexander 76'), D. Mapfumo (S. Tshabalala 76').

Orlando Pirates: S. Chaine, O. Ndah, T. Xoki, D. Hotto, T. Monyane (T. Lebitso 68'), M. Makhaula (T. Monare 83'), T. Mbatha, K. Kimvuidi (T. Mabasa 68'), P. Maswanganyi, E. Makgopa (K. Dlamini 77'), R. Mofokeng (I. Maela 78').