JOHANNESBURG — Orlando Pirates’ hopes of successfully defending their Absa Premiership football title came to an end when a stoppage time goal by Alje Schut handed Mamelodi Sundowns a 1-0 win at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams were denied by the woodwork and just when it almost seemed that they were heading to a goalless draw, the Dutchman pounced in the 92nd minute to hand Sundowns the three points.
Wayne Sandilands pulled out an impressive display in goals, but neither team could find the match-winner they were looking for as each team was denied by the crossbar too.
Despite having won just one of their last nine games, Orlando Pirates were still in the running for the Absa Premiership title and they were looking to keep that mathematical chance alive by defeating Mamelodi Sundowns.
And with the Brazilians eager to finish in the top eight of the log, they were never going to make it an easy task for Roger de Sa’s men.
In fact, it was Sundowns which created the first significant attack on goal. It was Daine Klate who made an impressive interception on Tebogo Langerman’s 11th minute shot from outside the box, kicking it away just as Senzo Meyiwa was running off his line to make the save.
Richard Henyekane then struck an effort from 20-yards, just eight minutes later, and it flew well wide of goal, not troubling Meyiwa in between the sticks.
Then, in the 22nd minute, Wayne Sandilands pulled off a great save by denying Khethokwakhe Masuku’s 30-yard screamer, after rounding it out at the near post.
Some great combination play by Pirates saw Oupa Manyisa frustratingly denied by the crossbar, four minutes later.
The same fate was handed to Sundowns in the 41st minute of play, as Wayne Arendse sent his headed ball off a corner kick towards goal, only for it to hit the woodwork.
A large portion of the second half fell into a lull as both sets of players looked to have run out of steam and ideas to get the goal. And no team managed to break the deadlock until the 92nd minute when Alje Schut headed home a low ball into the back of the net to seal a 1-0 win and increase Sundowns’ hopes of a top-eight finish.