Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor

Mabasa grabs a hat-trick as Pirates reach seventh heaven

Jose Riveiro's side cruise to three DStv Premiership points in Orlando.

Orlando Pirates bounced back to winning ways in style on Saturday evening, thrashing Golden Arrows 7-1 in a DStv Premiership tie at Orlando Stadium.

Tshegofatso Mabasa scored the first hat-trick of his professional career and missed a penalty, while Relebohile Mofokeng and Kabelo Dlamini both provided a goal and an assist, the latter setting up substitute Sandile Mthethwa for Pirates’ fifth goal. Karim Kimvuidi rattled in the Buccaneers’ seventh in stoppage time.

Mabasa now has seven goals in eight appearances in all competitions since being recalled by Pirates from a loan spell at Moroka Swallows in the January transfer window. Buccaneers head coach Jose Riveiro will be faced with an interesting dilemma when Evidence Magopa returns from injury.

Arrows’ Lungelo Nguse scored a consolation goal for Arrows, but head coach Steve Komphela was brought crashing back down to earth after a bright start to his latest stint with abafana bestendhe.

It took just 11 minute for the Buccaneers to go in front. Arrows goalkeeper Sifiso Mlungwana failed to hold a shot from Makheleni Makhaula, and Mabasa was on hand to steer the ball home from clsoe range.

In the 13th minute, Mlungwana did well to deny Mofokeng, but the Pirates youngster was not to be denied a minute later, ghosting past the Arrows’ keeper with ease before also sitting down Thabani Zuke and slotting into an empty net.

Mlungwana punched a corner straight to Dlamini in the 26th minute, but then saved well from the Pirates attacking midfielder.

Arrows did manage to create a couple of good chances to score, Nduduzo Sibiya somehow finding a way through two Pirates defenders, only to toe-poke a shot well wide.

Sipho Chaine also did very well to save from Kagiso Malinga, but it was Pirates who scored a third, Mofokeng sliding in Dlamini, who beat Mlungwana at his near post.

Penalty miss

It could have got worse for Arrows just before half time, as Patrick Maswanganyi’s poor first touch actually took him a way from goal, but Mlungwana still raced off his line and brought down the Bafana attacker.

Mabasa took the penalty and Mlungwana made amends by springing to his right to make a fine save.

It was slightly surprising that Mabasa took the spot kick ahead of the Buccaneers’ regular penalty taker Thapelo Xoki, but the Pirates captain had been booked earlier in the match, meaning he will miss the Buccaneers’ Nedbank Cup quarterfinal clash with AmaZulu.

Perhaps Pirates, at 3-0 up, wanted Mabasa to have some in-game penalty practice before that match. Jose Riveiro certainly had AmaZulu in mind when he took Xoki off at half time, bringing Sandile Mthethwa on in his place.

Mabasa did grab a second, meanwhile, in the 51st minute, putting Pirates 4-0 up after Miguel Timm’s superb pass played in Thabiso Lebitso, who crossed for Mabasa to supply a cool close-range finish.

Dlamini and Mofokeng then both put chances to grab their braces inches off target, as the Buccaneers continued to run riot, Timm conducting the play superbly from central midfield.

In the 73rd minute, Mofokeng came even closer to doubling his tally, his low strike beating Mlungwana but coming back off the inside of the post.

Pirates did grab their fifth goal in the 76th minute, as Dlamini sent in a superb cross and Mthethwa headed past Mlungwana.

Shortly afterwards, Nguse got clear to beat Chaine, but moments after that, Mabasa drilled in his hat-trick on an evening to truly put the smiles back on the faces of Buccaneers supporters.

In the last minute, meanwhile, Nguse somehow got away without punishment for a dreadful over-the-top challenge on Mthethwa, that the Pirates defender luckily walked away from.

Pirates got a seventh in stoppage time as Kimvuidi burst through and fired in off the post.