Bidvest Wits edged out Orlando Pirates 2-1 in a Premier Soccer League (PSL) game which was played at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.
Pirates were coming off a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Mamelodi Sundowns in a league game in the nation’s capital, Tshwane on Saturday.
Augusto Palacios, the Bucs head coach, made only two changes. Jele returned to the starting line-up, with Dove Wome making his official Pirates debut. James Okwuosa, who failed to impress on debut against Sundowns was replaced by Jele, while Wome came on for injured Gift Motupa. The Buccaneers were under pressure to bounce back to winning ways against PSL title chasing Bidvest Wits at home. Pirates had a promising start with the likes of Thembinkosi Lorch and Luvuyo Memela forcing Wits goalkeeper Darren Keet into two great saves. However, it was the visitors, who broke the deadlock through in-form Mhango a minute before the half-hour mark. The Malawi international beat two Pirates defenders Jele and Thabo Matlaba, before curling the ball into the top corner to make it 1-0 to Wits. This was Mhango’s third league goal in two league matches – having grabbed a brace during Wits’ 5-0 emphatic victory over Ajax Cape Town at the Bidvest Stadium last week. The former Bloemfontein Celtic striker then made it four goals in two games as he headed home on the stroke of half-time and Wits were leading 2-0 during the break. With his side struggling upfront, Palacios pulled out the current league top scorer Tendai Ndoro, who was ineffective, and introduced Thamsanqa Gabuza eight minutes into the second half. The home side did pull one back through Jele, who netted Pirates’ first goal in 2017 as they had failed to find the back of the net against Sundowns and Platinum Stars. The Bucs vice-captain fired home from close range to make it 2-1 a minute after the hour-mark after Keet was impeded by his teammate on the goal-line. But Pirates were reduced to 10 men when keeper Jackson Mabokgwane was dismissed for handling the ball outside the box with fourteen minutes left. Jele, the longest serving player in the current Bucs team, was forced to go into goal as the Buccaneers had made all of their three substitutes. However, the defender produced a fantastic save to deny Mhango, who was looking to grab his hat-trick, in stoppage-time and ultimately, Wits won 2-1 on the night. The victory took Wits to the top of the league standings, while Pirates, who are now winless in seven matches, remain 10th on the table.