United shock Pirates
Wednesday October 25 2006
SuperSport United produced a workmanlike performance to beat enterprising Orlando Pirates 1-0 in an exciting Castle Premiership match at Ellis Park Stadium on Wednesday night.
The solitary goal by striker Katlego Mashego in the 16th minute after a clever counter attack was enough to ensure that United quickly forget about their loss to Kaizer Chiefs in the SAA Supa 8 final last weekend.
When Pitso Mosimane made assertions that the league title means absolutely everything to him since taking over as Matsatsantsa A Pitori coach four seasons ago, many doubted him.
But after an unprecedented record of making six successive cup finals but winning just two in a space of two years, the 42 year-old tactician was surely getting bored and looking for a bigger fish to fry.
His team did not only absorb the pressure from Pirates marauding offensive players, but were impressive when going forward. And for a team that was badly beating by Chiefs to atone themselves in that fashionable manner, United deserves all the credit.
As usual with the hyperactive fervour, Pirates threatened with everything but found Uniteds rearguard marshaled by goalkeeper Denis Onyango ready to thwart Pirates countless scoring chances.
It took Pirates last term scorer Paulus Masehe only two minutes to threatened after his low cross which he was trying to tap in hit the cross.
But with the game progressing, United, renowned for their counter-attack display, scored when Mashego beat Pirates goalkeeper Avril Phadi to silence the home side throng of fans who came in their big numbers in the 21223 attendance after their team saw-off log leaders Silver Stars last weekend.
United winger Teko Modise was unlucky after captain Tonic Chabalala gifted him a chance to increase his team tally but his curled shot went wide.
After an imperious form last weekend, twinkle-toed Jabu Mahlangu had a quite game by his standard. His only visible contribution was in the 32nd when his classy pass to Masehe, who should have scored with Onyango to beat to the delight was the only good thing to write home about.
United came back from the break with a defensive pattern and it worked well. If there is one player who Mosimane should thank for stubbornly taking the three points away to Pirates, the Ugandan goal minder is that player.
With the clock ticking and minus classy players such as Gift Leremi, Benedict Vilakazi, Lebogang Mokoena and Onyekachi Onkonkwo again, it was evident that it will take some doing to beat United who held on tenaciously to make Mosimanes dream come true.
Pirates (4-4-2): Avril Phadi, Lucky Lekgwathi, Edward Malinga (Lelo Mbele 72), Tonic Chabalala, Innocent Mdledle, Lehlohonolo Seema (Isaac Chansa 51), Cavann Sibeko, Joseph Makhanya (David Makgale 69), Jabu Mahlangu, Paulus Masehe, Fikru Tefera
Coach: Milutin Sredojevic
United (4-5-1): Denis Onyango, Ricardo Katza, James Matola, Tsietsi Mahoa, Siboniso Gaxa (Isaac Mabotsa 75), Daine Klate, Thabo September, Alfred Phiri (Sibusiso Mahlangu 70), Teko Modise, Katlego Mashego (Edward Williams 56),
Coach: Pitso Mosimane
Referee: Ace Ncobo
Yellow cards: Bucuane 75 Williams 88 Katza 90, Mahoa 90
Report by Patrick Baloyi