Orlando Pirates thrashes Eswatini’s Royal Leopards

Orlando Pirates crushed Eswatini champions Royal Leopards 6-2 at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday night.

The CAF Confederation Cup encounter saw Pirates claim a convincing win against reigning  champions in Eswatini. A disastrous start, however, greeted the visitors with the home side, grabbing two unanswered goals 10 minutes to the game.

Mzwandile Mabelesa was the first to get his name on the scoresheet just five minutes into the clash. He netted in from a tight angle with a deflection from Happy Jele. Helping the ball beyond goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane. The lead doubled two minutes later as Thabiso Mokenkoane breached the Bucs defence. He set up an uphill climb for the visitors early on.

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Desperate to claw their way back, a clinical effort was required of the Soweto Giants. They provided just that, beginning in the 20th minute when Kabelo Dlamini forced an error from his namesake Machawe Dlamini. Dlamini’s effort deflected a cross from the Pirates midfielder into his own net.

The Buccaneers’ search for the equaliser was not a long one as they drew level just 38 minutes in. Bandile Shandu continued his impressive goal-scoring form after running into a perfectly threaded pass from Deon Hotto.

Hotto was instrumental in another crucial moment for Pirates as he chipped one into the direction of striker Kwame Peprah. Right on the stroke of half-time, Peprah sent the visitors into the 3-2 break.

With more than a healthy lead into the final half-hour, the visitors made four of their allotted five changes for the encounter.

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One of those was the introduction of Terrence Dzvukamanja. He made his presence count in the 80th minute when he benefited from a fine pass from Peprah to make it six goals on the night. The wait for the seventh goal of the evening was not long. Kabelo Dlamini was the man to provide the goods as he showed some wonderful touches inside the box to make it 5-2 on the hour mark.

With no way back into the contest for the home side, Pirates controlled matters and ended up as comfortable winners to reclaim their spot at the top of Group B.

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