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MANZINI – Moneni Pirates have completed a season double over city rivals Denver Sundowns in a fast-flowing MTN Premier League game played under the blazing heat here yesterday.

The match started on a high tempo as both teams searched for an early goal as they attacked each other from one end to the other. The two sides were meeting each other in a space of two weeks as they locked horns on January 21, 2023 at the same venue. Pirates were victorious on that day as they beat Sundowns by a lone goal. The first meaningful attempt at goal came 15 minutes into the game when Sundowns’ Mbutfo Mthetwa let fly a rocket like shot, which missed the desired target. This was after a nice interchange of passes. The host enjoyed much possession, but the visitors broke the deadlock against the run of play 20 minutes into the game, through the towering Samkelo Ginindza, who nodded home a gift wrapped cross by Man of the Match Sibonelo ‘Jekwa’ Simelane, from the right flank.

Sundowns levelled matters two minutes into added time through Mbutfo Mthetwa, who capitalised on a defensive error from ‘the Sea Robbers’ skipper Xolani Ngwenya, who failed to clear the ball out of danger. Mthetwa slotted the ball in the far corner, beating goalkeeper Bhekisisa Dlamini between the sticks. The score at half-time was level as referee Celumusa Siphepho blew his whistle to rest the sides. Both coaches made double substitutions at the start of the second half. Sundowns gaffer Gcina Dlamini rested Tony Brankinos and Vuyolwethu Makhubu for Lethukukhanya Dlamini and Luyanda Mnguni, respectively.  On the othe hand, Pirates tactician Ikabort Masocha introduced Sizwe Gwebu and Mfanzile Mdluli for Malibongwe Malinga and Reagan Kangumbu, respectively.

Sibonelo should have made it three for his side after he broke free, but took a lame shot at goal with the Ikappa Kappa goal custodian Bernard Ayikwea at his mercy six minutes before regulation time. Just four minutes before time, Mfanzile could not believe his eyes when his goal-bound ball was cleared on the line by Captain Jimoh Moses. This was the last chance of the entertaining Manzini mini derby as Celumusa Siphephelo blew his final whistle.  The result saw the ‘Sea Robbers’ jumping to the sixth position on the standings.

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