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Memela hits two as Micho’s Pirates beat Chiefs in Soweto derby

Luvuyo Memela celebrates

Johannesburg, South Africa | AFP | Soweto derby debutant Luvuyo Memela came off the bench to score twice and hand Orlando Pirates a pulsating 3-1 South African Premiership victory over greatest rivals Kaizer Chiefs Saturday.

Memela was introduced for the second half before an 84,000 crowd at the Soccer City stadium and scored within 30 seconds to put Pirates ahead for the second time.

His second goal on 74 minutes sealed maximum points for the Buccaneers and kept them hot on the heels of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns in the title race.

Thembinkosi Lorch gave Pirates the lead on 21 minutes in the Soweto cauldron and Colombian Leonardo Castro levelled just before the half hour.

Sundowns have 43 points, Pirates 39 and Free State Stars 37 in what is developing into a three-team battle for glory with seven rounds remaining.

Maritzburg United and Chiefs share fourth place, eight points adrift of 2016 African champions Sundowns, and it is difficult to imagine either side becoming champions.

“I have been waiting a long time for the opportunity to play in a Soweto derby,” said man-of-the-match award winner Memela.

“It is a wonderful feeling to score twice but as much as I am happy, I am even happier for my team, Orlando Pirates.”

Serbia-born Pirates coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic said the second goal was crucial after his team had been regularly overrun in midfield during the opening half.

“Scoring so early in the second half was a blessing for us because clever Chiefs tactics meant we found ourselves outnumbered in the middle of the field for much of the first half.”

Chiefs coach Steve Komphela remains trophy-less well into his third season with the club and is sure to face renewed public and media calls to quit after the derby defeat.

“Pirates’ second goal killed us,” he admitted. “It boosted their morale, deflated us a little and we had to reshuffle.

“It was a good game for neutrals, a good game for the crowd, but a bad result for my team and I.”

Ghanaian Mohammed Anas, who went viral last year after thanking his wife and girlfriend in a post-match interview, scored two late goals to give Free State a 2-1 win at bottom club Platinum Stars.

Belgian coach Luc Eymael has transformed Stars from central town Bethlehem into title challengers after many of his predecessors waged struggles against relegation.

Maritzburg United snapped a run of losses in all competitions against SuperSport United by forcing a 0-0 draw in Pretoria thanks to many saves from Ghana goalkeeper Richard Ofori.

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