Bucs beat Downs in four-goal thriller
Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates produced something of a South African football classic at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, with the Buccaneers prevailing 3-1.
- Mamelodi Sundowns 1 Orlando Pirates 3
- Nyauza lashes home the opener
- Makola converts second
- Tau pulls one back
- Laffor misses a sitter
- Memela seals the points
It was a game packed with chances, particularly in the first half, although Pirates took an early lead through Ntsikelelo Nyauza. After Downs missed some chances, Mpho Makola punished a mistake at the back to hand Pirates a 2-0 lead, before Percy Tau pulled one back.
After half-time, Anthony Laffor missed a sitter before Luvuyo Memela showed great skill and composure to hand Milutin Sredojevic's side all three points in Pretoria.
An end-to-end contest exploded into life in the second minute when a well-worked corner from the left by Pirates saw the ball break to Nyauza and the defender lashed home into the roof of the net with his left foot.
Soon after the action continued when Themba Zwane found space on the edge of the small box, but he saw his strike deflected wide by Jackson Mabokgwane, who made a brilliant save with his trailing leg on the line.
In the 11th minute Tau broke behind the visitors' defence and was picked out with a lobbed pass, however, he saw his header beaten away by Mabokgwane with his left hand. Pitso Mosimane's men had further chances to draw level but it would be the Sea Robbers who grabbed a second.
After Motjeka Madisha gave the ball away with a weak pass into midfield from the back, Justin Shonga got on the ball and steered a pass into Makola on the edge of the area. The attacking midfielder then curled a composed finish into the bottom-right corner.
Just after the half-hour mark, Memela missed a golden chance to add a third when a long kick down the middle from Mabokgwane picked him out, yet, in a one-on-one situation with Denis Onyango, the forward lobbed the ball well over the bar,
Sundowns made them pay in the 38th minute as Tau exchanged passes with Zwane before showing great quality to curl a left-footed strike into the far corner. Nonetheless, the breathtaking pace showed no sign of abating as just before the break Memela hit the upright with Onyango seemingly beaten.
After the interval, it remained frenetic with both teams enjoying some half-chances. With that said, substitute Laffor missed a sitter with the goal at his mercy just before the 70-minute mark. When Tau's header broke to the Liberian on the edge of the small box with just the keeper to beat, he somehow blazed over.
Memela put the game to bed in the 83rd minute after dropping his shoulder and sending Ricardo Nascimento the wrong way before he rifled a powerful left-footed shot beyond a despairing Onyango.
That turned out to be the last notable action of a very entertaining affair which turned out to be a good advert for South Africa football.