By: CHRIS TOTOBELA
On Saturday 19 January, City Pirates hosted Port Alfred-based Young Pirates in their SAB league clash. Both teams struggled in the dusty and windy conditions at the JD Dlepu stadium.
Both sides had a shaky start to the game giving away possesion easily. The home side adapted much quicker to the conditions and tried to put the ball on the ground as they were playing against the wind. Lack of communication at the back and poor marking nearly landed the home side into trouble. The first clear chance of the game went to the visitors after a well taken corner kick that was driven towards goals was pushed over the crossbar by the keeper.
City Pirates created chances of their own but failed to make them count. The visitors drew first blood after City’s defence failed to deal with a corner kick and were caught ball watching, being punished by a header.
This goal seemed to spur City into action as they started forcing their opponents to defend deep in their territory. City were rewarded after a defence splitting pass found Siyamdumisa Ketsheni unmarked, who easily lobbed the ball over an advancing keeper to level the score. Both teams went into the break locked at one goal a piece.
In the second half both teams made some substitutions to re-enforce their line up. The home side started where they left off and pushed for a winner. It came after a perfect pass from midfield found well timed run by the right back whose shot hit the post and came back into play. It was finished off by Thabo Rafa with a powerful ground shot.
The visitors tried to fight their way back into the game and pushed more bodies forward in search of an equaliser. The home side defended better in the second half and made fewer mistakes compared to the first half.
They put the game beyond the visitors reach after a corner kick found Zolani Swaartbooi who steered the ball into the back of the net with his head. This goal ended the visitors hopes of coming back. The referee blew the final whistle a few minutes after the third goal with City Pirates collecting maximum points as they won by 3-1.