• Pirates claim third place to book Caf spot

    Orlando Pirates secured a third-placed finish in the Absa Premiership after claiming a 1-0 victory over Stellenbosch FC at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday, writes DYLAN APPOLIS.

    Gabadinho Mhango returned to the Buccaneers starting lineup after coming off the bench to score the winner against Maritzburg United on Wednesday, while Kabelo Dlamini replaced Fortune Makaringe in the middle.

    Pirates looked threatening from the early stages as Vincent Pule played a ball over the top to Thembinkosi Lorch, who pulled the ball back for Mhango, but his strike was saved by Stellies goalkeeper Lee Langeveldt.

    The Soweto giants continued to dominate proceedings as the game went on and had another chance to take the lead, but Lorch blazed his effort over the target.

    However, Pirates managed to open the scoring on the stroke of half time when Mhango remained composed to bag his 16th goal of the season. And so, the Buccaneers took a one-goal lead into the break.

    Pirates picked up where they left off in the first half as they nearly doubled their lead early in the second half when Monyane played a pinpoint pass across goal to Lorch, who fired his shot over the bar.

    Stellies had a chance of their own in the 56th minute but Robertson’s glancing header sailed wide of goal from a resulting corner kick.

    Josef Zinnbauer made his first change in the 63rd minute when Kebelo Dlamini was taken off and replaced by Innocent Maela before bringing on Lepasa and Mabasa for Lorch and Mhango minutes later.

    Wayne Sandilands then came to his side’s rescue with 10 minutes left to play when he produced a good save to deflect Marc van Heeredens’ effort away from danger.

    However, Pirates managed to hold on to their slender lead over Leopards until the final whistle to secure third place and book their place in next years Caf Confederation Cup.

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