Bucs Net Late Winner To Sink Stars
Absa Premiership Report: Orlando Pirates v Free State Stars 12 May 2018
Result: Orlando Pirates 2-1 Free State Stars
Date: 12 May 2018
Venue: Orlando Stadium
Thamsanqa Gabuza struck late in the second half to hand Orlando Pirates a 2-1 win over Free State Stars at the Orlando Stadium on the final day of the Absa Premiership season.
The Buccaneers had already sewn up second spot prior to kick-off and were looking to end the campaign on a high, after losing 1-0 to Cape Town City in their last game.
Pirates came into the clash without the services of Musa Nyatama, Mpho Makola and Luvuyo Memela, who were all nursing injuries.
The Buccaneers controlled possession in the early stages of the encounter, although they struggled to carve out clear-cut openings.
The hosts' dominance eventually paid off as they broke the deadlock after 22 minutes with Ntsikelelo Nyauza sending a fine header past Thela Ngobeni.
Justin Shonga went close to doubling Pirates' lead in the 34th minute but his close-range effort sailed wide of the mark.
Stars, meanwhile, struggled to carve out any real openings as goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands enjoyed a quiet opening 45 minutes.
Six minutes into the second half, Stars managed to level matters, with Nhlanhla Vilakazi firing home for the visitors.
Ea Lla Koto seemed revitalised after the goal and went in search of another, with Goodman Dlamini forcing Sandilands into a fine save after 64 minutes.
Both sides showed attacking intent as the half went on, although they were let down by their decision-making in the final third.
With 10 minutes remaining, Gabuza was introduced for Happy Jele as Pirates pushed for a winning goal.
The change paid off as Gabuza slotted home from close range after Shonga's initial effort was saved as the Bucs secured three points to end the campaign on a high.
Here's how they lined up:
Pirates: 30. Sandilands, 4. Jele, 34. Nyauza, 35. Thopola, 39. Maphanga, 33. Munetsi, 43. Mbulu, 37. Mlambo, 15. Qalinge, 27. Mulenga, 42. Mulenga.
Subs: 40. Mpontshane, 19. Chabalala, 6. Shitolo, 23. Maela, 45. Mobara, 38. Mtshali, 31. Gabuza.
Stars: 32. Ngobeni, 28. Mahamutsa, 29. Phungwayo, 19. Mbhele, 2. Mobbie, 5. Masehe, 50. Vilakazi, 27. Tchilimbou, 26. Dlamini, 11. Jantjie, 21. Mthembu.
Subs: 23. Sangare, 35. Klaas, 17. Hlubi, 20. Mashego, 3. Anas, 4. Makhaula, 6. Teyise.