Cape Town – Lebogang Manyama bagged the match-winner as league leaders Kaizer Chiefs recorded a 1-0 victory over Orlando Pirates on Saturday to claim the Soweto Derby bragging rights.
The first half started at a high tempo with both sides looking to forge an early breakthrough, and it remained exciting throughout with the two Soweto giants trading blows for much of the first half.
The first noteworthy chance arrived after just four minutes of play, Malawi international Gabadinho Mhango going close to firing the Buccaneers in front as he fired wide of the mark with a left-footed drive.
Chiefs responded in kind five minutes later, but the chance came to nothing as Lebogang Manyama shot wide of the target.
Pirates had a great chance to claim the lead on 14 minutes, when Innocent Maela sent a searching cross towards the back post but Mhango was unable to make contact with the ball, allowing Chiefs keeper Daniel Akpeyi to snap up the ball.
The Buccaneers fashioned another good opportunity in the 27th minute, and this time it was Luvuyo Memela who put a great ball into the danger area. Thembinkosi Lorch was the recipient of that pass but he could not find a way past Akpeyi, who was well-positioned to make the save.
And the hosts were made to rue that missed chance as Chiefs went on to break the deadlock a couple of minutes later. Manyama showed great determination as he strode forward into the Pirates half before cutting inside on his right and drilling a low shot into the right-hand corner from just outside the box.
Manyama very nearly notched a second goal a few minutes later, but his driven free-kick flew over the bar, much to the relief of the Sea Robbers.
Pirates had one last chance to draw level as the first half drew to a close, but Lorch could not find the target with a glancing header as Chiefs went into the break with a slender lead.
Chasing the game in the second period, Pirates started on the front foot and twice threatened to equalise as Vincent Pule fired over in the 48th minute, before again failing to hit the target on the hour mark after being teed up by Lorch.
Chiefs threatened to stretch further ahead two minutes later, but Khama Billiat could not keep his shot down as the ball flew over the crossbar, before team-mate Erick Mathoho headed wide in the 72nd minute.
Pirates redoubled their efforts, though, as they piled forward in a bid to force an equaliser. Akpeyi had to be on his toes to deny Pirates with a triple save, first keeping out efforts from Lorch and Memela, before making a third save to deny a long-range shot.
Chiefs were then forced into making a change in the 75th minute as midfielder Willard Katsande was stretched off with a serious injury.
However, despite losing the services of such a key player, Amakhosi managed to hold firm in the remaining 15 minutes of the contest.
Akpeyi again underlined his importance to Chiefs as he pulled off a brilliant save to deny Ntsikelelo Nyauza’s side-footed effort in the 86th minute, but that was the last real chance of the game as the visitors claimed all three points, completing a league double over Pirates in the process.
– TEAMtalk media