A goal in each half from substitutes Thulasizwe Mbuyane and Tlou Segolela handed Orlando Pirates their first three points of the 2012/13 Absa Premiership as they beat Golden Arrows 2-1 at Orlando Stadium on Friday night.
The opening stages of the match saw the Buccaneers passing the ball about swiftly and accurately, but unable to create any decent openings in front goal.
Instead, the first real chance of the game went to Arrows, very much against the run of play, in the 16th minute.
A swift counter-attack saw Stanton Lewis find some space 22-yards out from goal, but he saw his low pile-driver well saved by Moneeb Josephs diving to his right to tip the ball around the post.
The glimpse on goal seemed to inspire the visitors as they began attacking the ball which resulted in Sifiso Myeni losing possession to Arrows captain Thanduyise Khuboni in the 18th minute.
Khuboni then proceeded to drive forward and played Nkosinathi Ogle through on goal, but he saw his initial shot saved by Josephs.
The Buccaneers keeper, however, failed to keep hold of the ball and Bongi Ntuli pounced on the rebound to score the first league goal of the 2012/13 season and give his side the lead from a couple of yards out, 1-0.
Pirates suffered a further set-back in the 24th minute when Ndumiso Mabena had to leave the field injured, suffering a hamstring injury and was replaced by Thulasizwe Mbuyane.
Still, despite losing one of their attackers the Buccaneers continued to push forward in search of the equaliser, one they found in the dying seconds of the half.
Myeni made up for causing the first goal by delivering a quick in-swinging corner into a good area and substitute Mbuyane met it with a powerful header form six-yards out to level matters before the break, 1-1.
The second 45 saw Pirates come out a different side as the controlled the match from the restart.
The Buccaneers were the much livelier side and seemed to find space down the flanks almost at will.
But still, despite their dominance in the second half, they didn’t seem able to create any clear cut-chances on goal.
Instead the games third goal, which came in the 78th minute, was a spectacular long range shot from another Pirates substitute.
A long ball forward was headed into Tlou Segolela’s path by Benni McCarthy, the substitute then let rip from 24-yards out and his shot almost burst the net as it found its way into the top left-had corner, 2-1.
That is the way the match ended as the defending champions picked up their first win of the 2012/13 league campaign.
Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Mbuyane 45+2’, Segolela 78’)
Golden Arrows (1) 1 (Ntuli 18’)
Pirates: Josephs; Matlaba, Lekgwathi, Sangweni, Phungwayo, Klate, Jali, Moholo (Ntshumayelo 91’), Myeni (Segolela 63’), Mabena (Mbuyane 27’), McCarthy
Arrows: Steinbors; Zwane, Krjauklis, Bilankulu, Hadebe, Shange (Macuphu 87’), Keita (Zothwane 79’), Khuboni, Ogle (Nene 46’), Lewis, Ntuli.
Meanwhile Ajax Cape Town fought back through Terror Fanteni to draw 1-1 with SuperSport United in another Absa Premiership’s opening match played at Cape Town Stadium.
The Urban Warriors were without Bradley Grobler and Keagan Dolly, due to problems with their clearance certificates, while new arrival Koen van de Laak made his debut.
Khama Billiat came close to opening the scoring five minutes in, when he was left open to take a shot in the big box, but Davis Nkausu did well to clear.
Billiat tested Ronwen Williams once again with his shot outside the box in the 12th minute, but it was Franklin Cale who came close with his curling free-kick which inched past Sander Westerveld’s goal.
Edwin Gyimah became the first player added to the referee’s book due to a late challenge in the 23rd minute, before SuperSport came close again.
This time it was through Nathan Paulse, who was poking in the box but Nazeer Allie’s challenge allowed Westerveld to gather.
Six minutes after the half hour, Billiat continued to threaten when he struck the side netting of Williams’ goal.
Ashley Hartog made way for Moffat Mdluli at the start of the second half and it was Gavin Hunt’s men who snuck in the deadlock breaking goal.
The Dutch goalkeeper was caught yards off his line, allowing Sibusiso Zuma to chip from range and hit the back of the net.
Nhlanhla Vilakazi was given as 25 minute run-out, when he replaced Losper in the midfield, and Mabhudi Khenyeza replaced Paulse just two minutes later.
Koen van de Laak let rip with a powerful shot at goal, but the impressive Williams managed to tip the ball around the angular of the goal, in the 72nd minute.
After seeing a colossal amount of chances go begging, Terror Fanteni managed to draw Ajax level when he turned on the ball and sliced it into the far post, making it difficult for the young Williams to reach. That goal was in the 79th minute.
Bevan Fransman was booked in the 80th minute for a rash challenge, but it was Maarten Stekelnberg’s men who continued to push as Gavin Hunt opted for the defensive by bringing in Roscoe Pietersen in place of George Maluleka.
Ajax Cape Town (0) 1 (Fanteni 79’)
SuperSport United: (0) 1 (Zuma 50’)
Ajax: Westerveld, Hlatswayo, Allie, Booth (Vesi 77’), Lebusa, Scott, Billiat, Losper (Vilakazi 65’), Van de Laak (Van Graan 77’), Fanteni, Manyama
SuperSport: Williams, Fransman, Nkausu, Thwala, Diouf, Maluleka (Pietersen 80’), Gyimah, Hartog (Mdluli 45’), Cale, Paulse (Khenyeza 67’), Zuma.-www.backpagepix.co.za