Orlando Pirates secured their first league Soweto Derby win in six DStv Premiership games with a 1-0 victory over Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Derby is losing its relevance, was the chatter in the week as Chiefs and Pirates came into the game mid-table and more than 10 points off league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
But stepping into the Calabash in a sold-out event always, always, creates a spectacle to make you forget about form or previous results – it’s an unrivalled event in South African football.
And the two teams put on a show in the opening half with both Chiefs and Pirates showing plenty of endeavour to attack and entertain those who came out in the blistering heat in Soweto on the day.
Evidence Makgopa, who came under fire from supporters since breaking into the starting eleven, was the one to break the deadlock, scoring a tap-in past Itumeleng Khune after Bandile Shandu set him up – after Pirates lost two players though injury inside 20 minutes.
Thabiso Monyane and Kermit Erasmus were hauled off inside the opening 20 minutes for Bandile Shandu and Relebohile Mofokeng but it seemingly didn’t affect their flow and confidence in transitions.
Makgopa’s effort settled their nerves and despite having less possession, they always looked the more threatening of the two sides in an end-to-end affair going into the break.
What was evident throughout was Chiefs lack of teamwork, as players flailed around their arms at each other when mistakes were made, while the visitors provided a more collective and balance game, covering for each other in and out of possession.
Chiefs were looking for individual brilliance to get back into the game, and Pule Mmodi was thrown in for Keagan Dolly shortly into the second half.
Edson Castillo nearly found an equaliser when he ghosted into the area but his header struck the upright and clear to safety from Melusi Buthelezi’s goal, with the keeper having a crucial touch/
And that was seemingly a reference point as 10 minutes from time Zitha Kwinika played in a pin-point cross to the Venezuela international but his header went flying over the post.
Pirates looked threatening on the break as Jose Riveiro rang the changes, Vincent Pule, Mokfokeng, and Thembinkosi Lorch offered a fluid front three, while Thabang Monare, Phillip Ndlondlo and Patrick Maswanganyi showed tactical intelligence to keep the ball ticking.
But Chiefs were willing to run harder in the closing stages and threw plenty of bodies forward but it wasn’t enough as the Buccaneers secured their first Derby win in the league since the 2020/21 season (five games).
Three points moved Pirates above Chiefs into seventh place, with 15 points from 10 games, while Amakhosi dropped down to eighth with 14 points from 12 games.