Pirates, Stars in six-goal thriller


Fresh from their African conquests the Sea-Robbers started strongly before Stars worked their way into the match and hit the lead just past the half-hour mark. Pirates were able to equalise, before Stars hit the front again, and for a second time the Soweto Giants came back to level matters. But, it would be the third wonder-strike from Ngele which appeared to seal the contest. With three minutes remaining in the clash, Issa Sarr met a Sifiso Myeni corner and from a tight angle his deft header rocketed into goal to ensure the sides shared the points.

With the draw, Pirates stay in third position with 44 points, but did not lose ground on Mamelodi Sundowns three points ahead in second who also played out to a draw at the same time.

Stars’ log position also did not change as they moved to 28 points from 24 games for 11th place on the log.

Earlier, Myeni sent the ball into the Aces area where Lennox Bacela rose up and his unchallenged header was directed just wide of target in the second minute.

Six minutes later, under the attention of two defenders, Bacela showed good strength to get the shot away but the effort, like his earlier attempt, was off the mark.

The best chance to open the score fell to Stars in the 19th minute. Pirates keeper Brighton Mhlongo collided with a Stars player, but play was allowed to go on, and Ngele had a shot at an open goal but scuffed his shot across the face of goal.

In the 28th minute, Robert Ng’ambi made a run down the right for Stars and Ngele was able to take a touch before unleashing a left-footed strike which was saved by Mhlongo.

Stars were rewarded with their period of dominance with the opening goal in the 32nd minute.

Ngele was on target again, this time running into space and from 25 metres out, and the striker’s low shot found the corner of the net to take a 1-0 lead for the visitors.

Right on the interval, Pirates pulled a goal back. Oupa Manyisa made a run into the right hand side of the box drawing both a defender and the keeper, but instead of shooting passed for Mpho Makola who made no mistake in front of an open goal.

Stars, however, were not done yet as they took the lead again four minutes into first half injury time. Stars were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Pirates box. Ngele stepped up and produced a swerving strike into the top right corner of goal to secure his brace as his side led 2-1 at the break.

In the second half, it took just three minutes for Pirates to draw level once again. Bacela and Manyisa combined for a masterclass goal. Bacela held the ball up in the middle and released Manyisa in the box, who took a touch before driving the ball home with pinpoint accuracy to make it 2-2.

Ngele completed his hat-trick in the 69th minute. The player, in red-hot form, received the ball in the middle of the park and unleashed a left-footed thunderbolt from 25 metres out which crashed into the back of the net and forged a 3-2 lead for Stars.

It was then the turn of Sarr to make it 3-3 late in the match. – ANA

Original source: Pirates, Stars in six-goal thriller