Home Sport DSTV PREMIERSHIP: Riveiro bags Spanish bragging rights

DSTV PREMIERSHIP: Riveiro bags Spanish bragging rights

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The Spanish rivalry between Jose Riveiro and Pablo Franco added a real touch of rivalry to the clash between inland Pirates and coastal AmaZulu, so much so that while the match was still goalless at the break, the fight for “bragging rights” and three points had brewed in the first stanza.

Pablo Franco Martin- head coach of AmaZulu, Jose Riveiro- coach of Orlando Pirates during the Nedbank Cup Quarter final Draw at the Supersport Studio in Johannesburg on 18 March 2024. File Picture: Nokwanda Zondi, BackpagePix

Mihlali Baleka

ORLANDO PIRATES (0) 1 – Mabasa 75’

AMAZULU FC 0

THE SEA Robbers, temporarily at least, cruised to the promised land in the Premiership, moving to second place by defeating AmaZulu 1-0 on Saturday night.

It was Pirates’ second win over Usuthu in a week as they beat them 4-2 in the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals at Moses Mabhida Stadium last weekend.

In the bigger scheme of things, this was Pirates’ third successive win in a row, their last league win being the 7-1 mauling of Golden Arrows in Orlando.

AmaZulu will have to make up for lost time in their remaining six fixtures to make the top eight.

The Spanish rivalry between Jose Riveiro and Pablo Franco added a real touch of rivalry to the clash between inland Pirates and coastal AmaZulu, so much so that while the match was still goalless at the break, the fight for “bragging rights” and three points had brewed in the first stanza.

Referee Cedric Muvhali did his best to ensure that the two sides didn’t bay for each other’s blood, but whether his calls were correct is a story for another day.

The clash lived up to its hype from the outset, with Pirates eager to pick up where they left off in Durban as they took the game to Usuthu.

Pirates were silky but slow in their build-ups, while AmaZulu had other ideas with their quick transitions.

Franco was positive about their approach too, casually standing on the edge of his touchline with hands firmly in pockets, only cajoling his troops when the need arose.

His opposite number Riveiro seemed reckless in search of his second successive, and third overall, win against Franco as he was in and out his dugout.

But Franco would soon lose his cool after referee Cedric Muvhali adjudged a set-piece against Abbubaker Mobara, who stopped Pirates midfielder Patrick Maswanganyi who was through on goal.

The 43-year-old Usuthu coach’s mood went from bad to worse as he fell on his knees and covered his face with his hands after Muvhali showed Mobara a straight red card after the incident.

You’d bet he was asking what his team had done to deserve such poor officiating against them, having also cried foul for the same incident in Durban.

There was no time for answers, though. Instead, Usuthu had to create their own luck and push for the lead with 10 men.

Sipho Chaine denied Ethan Brooks that advantage on the stroke of half-time, the Pirates goalkeeper parrying away the effort as Usuthu camped in his box.

‘The Ghost’, inspired by convincing back-to-back wins, filled the lower stands to almost full capacity to provide extra fuel in Pirates’ tanks.

And after Chaine kept his team in the game early in the second half, saving striker Victor Letsoalo’s shot from close range, the Buccaneers faithful continued to rally behind their team.

Monnapule Saleng made his contribution as his cut-back in front of goal was tapped home by Tshegofatso Mabasa for the winner and his 11th league goal of the season.

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