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Maritzburg Utd 1-2 Pirates

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Manyisa: Opens the scoring

Manyisa: Opens the scoring

Orlando Pirates went joint top of the PSL standings as they saw off 10-man Maritzburg United 2-1 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday evening.

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Oupa Manyisa fired home after 32 minutes to hand the Buccaneers the lead before Ruben Cloete received his marching orders just after the restart, while Andile Jali added his side's second soon after.

Cuthbert Malajila managed to ensure a tense final 11 minutes as he rifled home to half the deficit, but Roger de Sa's men were able to hold out for the three valuable points.

The result took the Soweto giants level with leaders Kaizer Chiefs, the two sides separated only by goal difference, although Amakhosi have a game in hand, while United finished the night in fourth, but could drop to fifth by the end of the weekend.

Pirates started the stronger of the sides and saw plenty of the ball, but some wasteful crossing resulted in a lack of goal-mouth action in the opening stages.

After five minutes Delron Buckley worked his side a great chance as he danced his way down the middle of the pitch before spreading the ball out wide, but David Booysen's cross was a poor one and went straight to the goalkeeper.

The hosts came into the match more as the game went on, and Terrence Mandaza did brilliantly to control a long ball into the area with his chest, but he slipped at the crucial moment and the defenders were able to sweep up the mess.

Booysen looked lively for the Team of Choice and showed his defensive qualities as he just got the slightest of toes on Daine Klate's cut-back, which appeared to be set to sit up perfectly for Collins Mbesuma to smash towards target.

Shortly after the half-hour mark the visitors took the lead as Klate showed plenty of strength and balance to get past his marker out wide before clipping the ball over to the unmarked Manyisa who took one touch to control before rifling home from close range.

The hosts had a great chance draw things level right after the restart as a dangerous free-kick was not dealt with by Senzo Meyiwa, with the ball falling kindly for Mandaza, but he was unable to keep his effort down and volleyed well over.

With 50 minutes gone though the hosts' night was made infinitely more difficult as Cloete was shown a straight red card for a horrible two-footed lunge in the middle of the park.

Seven minutes later and the visitors took full advantage of the numbers, Mbesuma running onto a ball into the area before holding up play and finally clipping his delivery over the far-post where a completely unmarked Jali was on hand to head into an empty net.

Moments later and Ernst Middendorp's men almost pulled one back as Malajila found himself with acres of space to shoot from just a few feet out from goal, but a simply brilliant challenge from Klate saw the ball deflect up and over the crossbar.

Pirates then came within inches of earning a third as Thabo Matlaba carried the ball to the by-line before cutting back in and looking to curl his shot into the far corner, but his effort just clipped the top of the crossbar before bouncing out for a goal-kick.

The visitors continued to dominate the match, and Sifiso Myeni showed some sublime skill as he lost no fewer than three markers before getting his shot away from the edge of the area, but he was hurried into his effort and could only fire straight at the keeper.

The hosts managed to pull one back with just over 10 minutes to as some sloppy defending from Pirates saw a loose pass fall perfectly for Malajila, who did not disappoint as he pummelled his shot into the very top corner of the goal.

However, the goal would prove to be the only consolation as Pirates ran out comfortable winners.

Posted: 14/12/12 19:53

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