South Africa

Richards Bay stun Pirates in Orlando, Spurs relegated

Sanele Barns

Orlando Pirates failed to take advantage of Stellenbosch FC’s slip up as the race for the second spot in the DStv Premiership League title race swung firmly in Stellies favour after the Buccaneers lost 1-0 at home to Richards Bay FC.

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Stellies’ 2-0 defeat against Moroka Swallows earlier in the day had provided Jose Riveiro’s third-placed side with the chance to not only leapfrog Stellenbosch FC, but to move two points clear of the them.

It was clear from the first whistle that the visitors wanted to upset the form book by getting an early goal, but the Pirates defence had other ideas as they dealt with any threat that came their way.

But the Natal Rich Boys were finally rewarded for their efforts in the 36th when Sanele Barnes put them in the lead when he scored against the run of play after Pirates failed to defend a set-piece.

DStv Premiership top goalscorer Tshegofatso Mabasa came close to finding the equaliser for the Buccaneers three minutes later, but his header went over the crossbar.

Mabasa had another chance to redeem himself in the 45th minute but his shot was saved by Richards Bay goalkeeper Salim Magoola.

The Natal Rich Boys hanged on to their slender lead until the half-time break.

Pirates took the game to the visitors in second half and they came close to finding the equaliser in the 56th minute through Relebohile Mofokeng, but his shot hit the crossbar with Magoola well-beaten.

Captain Innocent Maela wasted a good chance to grab the equaliser for the Buccaneers in the 61st minute when he found himself unmarked inside the box, but he sent his header wide of goals.  

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Magoola pulled off a brilliant save to deny Patrick Maswanganyi from close range in the 82nd minute as the Buccaneers pushed for the equaliser.

The win against Pirates not only saved Richards Bay from automatic relegation, but it also meant that Cape Town Spurs were relegated to the Motsepe Foundation Championship with two games to go.