By Isaac Ndou
JOHANNESBURG: Luvuyo Memela came off the bench to score twice to see Orlando Pirates thrash Kaizer Chiefs 3-1 in the Soweto Derby on Saturday afternoon.
It was Memela’s brace that dented Chiefs’ tittle hope in front of a fully packed FNB Stadium that made Pirates to remain on Mamelodi Sundowns’ tail.
Both teams started the game fearless of attacking each other and it was Pirates who opened the goal gates in the 21st minute after Joseph Molongoane failed to clear the ball and Thembinkosi Lorch got to the end of it and beat Itumeleng Khune with a fine grass cutter.
Chiefs gave the perfect response five minutes later with an equalizer through Leonardo Castro who met Siphiwe Tshabalala’s cross with a pin point header that gave Siyabonga Mpotshane no chance.
Castro was proving to be a problem for the Bucs defense and had two shorts on target which Mpotshane was again awake to deal with the efforts in the 41st and 42nd minute. The two teams went to the break level at 1-1.
Memela was introduced from the bench and quickly made his mark on proceedings with an early second half goal in the 46th minute with his first touch after finishing off a deep pass inside the box with a calm finish to restore Bucs’ lead.
Castro could have leveled matters for Amakhosi in the 54th minute after he got to the end of a corner with a header which Mpotshane desperately pushed away to keep Pirates in the lead.
In form striker Justine Shonga nearly gave his team a two goal lead when he got to the end of a cross with a cool shot towards goal but Khune was there to block the ball from going into the back of the net.
Bucs pinned the final nail on Chief’s coffin in the 74th when Memela bagged his brace with a close range finish from a Shonga cross to beat Khune and made it 3-1 in favour of Pirates.
Steve Kompela introduced Benard Parker in the 80th minute and came close to pulling one back for Amakhosi with a close range rocket shot which landed in Mpotshane’s hands.
Bucs were having a field day with Amakhosi and could have added another goal in the 88th minute when Mthokhozisi Dube met a through pass and only had Khune to beat but his effort was saved by South Africa’s number one.
The game ended with the scores at 3-1 in favour of the Buccaneers who have managed to maintain their title chase and possibly take Chiefs out of it.