ORLANDO Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena breathed a huge sigh of relief as the Buccaneers eased the pressure on him with a much need win against Highlands Park.
You would be forgiven for thinking that the Soweto giants had won a trophy judging by their coach’s wild celebrations on the bench. Bucs huffed and puffed to a morale boosting 1-0 victory over the Lions of the North at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa last night.
Whether Tshegofatso Mabasa’s winning goal was off-side or not it’s up to you to judge.
There was a hint of off-side as Mabasa raced onto Linda Mntabo’s pass ten minutes before full-time to score the winner. Mabasa and Bucs couldn’t care less as they benefitted from the refereeing error to end their three games winless run.
This was also their first victory over Highlands in four meetings, but most importantly their first league win since September and what a time to get it.
They are now going into their Telkom Knockout quarterfinal Soweto derby against Kaizer Chiefs in Durban on Saturday, at the back of a vital win which will serve as a confidence booster.
The Buccaneers had not beaten Highlands Park since they gained promotion to the top flight division two seasons ago.
In the 2018-19 season, the two clubs played to a 2-2 draw in Tembisa and 1-1 in Soweto.
This was their second meeting this season with the Lions of the North dumping the Soweto giants courtesy of a late Wayde Jooste goal at the Orlando Stadium in August, but they avenged that loss by the same scoreline.
Highlands defeated Chippa United 2-0 at the same venue in their previous game, Bucs dismal run in the league continued when they crushed to a 1-0 defeat away to rookies Stellenbosch FC in Cape Town in their last outing.
The fans packed the stadium to capacity and created an electrifying atmosphere. An interesting spectator in the stands was Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp, who came to spy on Bucs ahead of their Soweto derby at the weekend.