Mamelodi Sundowns lost to Orlando Pirates in a thrilling Absa Premiership encounter at Loftus Stadium on Saturday afternoon, to move up to third on the log standings.
Ntsikelelo Nyauza, Mpho Makola and Luvuyo Memela scored the goals for the visitors. Percy Tau’s first-half strike was not enough for ‘Downs, who continue to struggle at home this season.
With the 6-0 thumping from last season still fresh in the memory of those – especially the Pirates fans – who gathered in the country’s capital, it came as a huge sigh of relief for The Ghost when it was they who opened the scoring.
Nyauza hammered home within the first two minutes after the Brazilians failed to clear their lines from a corner kick.
Sundowns went in search of an immediate reply and were only denied the equaliser through the brilliance of Jackson Mabokgwane. Themba Zwane, Tiyani Mabunda and Percy Tau were almost in disbelief as the shot-stopper came up with the goods for the visitors.
Having weathered the storm, Pirates doubled their lead in the 18th minute. Makola produced a great finish following a defensive blunder from Motjeka Madisha, who coughed up possession in a dangerous position.
Memela squandered a golden chance to increase the Buccaneers’ lead moments after the half-hour mark. Mabokgwane provided the quick release to send the attacker on his bike, but with only Denis Onyango to beat – he could only succeed in guiding his attempt over the crossbar.
The Brazilians finally found the back of the net with 38 minutes on the clock. Themba Zwane produced the defence-splitting pass to tee up Percy Tau who made no mistake, firing an unstoppable left-footed shot into the roof of the net.
Pirates, though, were not done as Memela rattled the woodwork after Onyango misjudged a ball into the area. The visitors were deservedly in front as the two teams headed for the tunnel at the break.
After the break, with Sundowns turning the screw, it was no surprise to see Anthony Laffor make his way onto the pitch on the hour mark. He should’ve pulled the hosts level with 66 minutes on the clock.
The Liberia international skied his attempt with the goal at his mercy – to the frustration of Pitso Mosimane who ran down the touchline in dissatisfaction.
Sundowns continued to dominate possession and territory, but were ultimately punished for their failure to convert a succession of chances as Memela put the game to bed.
The Pirates attacker, who bagged a brace in their victory over Baroka FC last weekend, sent an unstoppable shot past Onyango in the 83rd minute.
Victory moves the Sea Robbers up to third place on the log standings, five points off the Brazilians who occupy the summit.
Mamelodi Sundowns (1) 1 (Tau 38′)
Orlando Pirates (2) 3 (Nyauza 2′ Makola 18′ Memela 83′)
Mamelodi Sundowns: Onyango; Langerman, Madisha, Nascimento, S.Zwane (Makgalwa 82′) – Kekana (Sekotlong 87′), Mabunda, Manyisa – Vilakaz (Laffor 60′), T.Zwane, Tau.
Orlando Pirates: Mabokgwane; Maela, Shitolo, Nyauza, Mobara, Dube – Makola (Munetsi 79′), Nyatama – Memela, Kutumela (Foster 89′), Shonga (Lorch 55′).