Pirates give Maulers a hiding

Orlando Pirates rid themselves of their poor start to the season when they thrashed Manning Rangers 5-0 in Saturday's Castle Premier League match at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg. Having to face the banners of "Bring Bondarenko back" the past few weeks, there was none happier man than coach Ted Dumitru, who took over the reins from Russian Viktor Bondarenko last month.

After clinching the Iwisa Spectacular and the Vodacom African Challenge in pre-season competition under the Russian coach, the Bucanneers lost their opening league match 4-1 against Jomo Cosmos and could only muster a goal-free draw against AmaZulu last weekend.

On Saturday, however, they sent an emphatic message to the opposition they are going to be a force to be reckoned with this season. They took Rangers apart, despite being a man short when they lost defender Papi Khomane in the 38th minute for a second bookable offence.

Pirates started the game in the right frame of mind when they went on the attack and young Steve Lekoelea hit the target in the fourth minute to make it 1-0. The midfielder was set free by Sibusiso Zuma and planted the ball past Rangers goalkeeper, Grant Johnson.

Referee Mark Lindon was strict on any wayward tackles and booked Rangers' Japhet Zwane in the 30th minute for a late tackle on Joseph Ngake. Five minutes later, Khomane picked up his first caution when he brought down former Qwa Qwa Stars' midfielder, Fees Moloi. Khomane tempted fate when he again made an innocuous tackle on Solo Ndimande in the 38th minute and was shown a red card.

Rangers could have levelled matters, but former Pirates striker Bruce Ramokadi hit wide of goalkeeper William Okpara minutes before halftime. This was the only decent chance Rangers had as the home side stepped on the pedals and took command of proceedings in the second half. It came as little surprise when Lekoelea scored his brace after a splendid solo run in the 53rd minute, beating Johnson with a fine strike to make it 2-0.

Rangers lacked commitment and the Bucs capitalised on their mistakes.

Zuma made it 3-0 in the 54th minute. Despite Johnson's appeals that Zuma had handled the ball before scoring, the referee allowed the goal to stand. Ngake got in on the act in the 62nd minute by dribbling past defender Robbie Milne to add the fourth goal.

Rangers' fate was truly sealed in the 81st minute, when Thabo Mngomeni got the fifth in, securing the win. - Sapa