Tue. Sep 17th, 2019

Orlando Pirates bloodied but not beaten in title race

Bidvest wits vs Orlando PiratesOrlando Pirates are not out of the title race just yet despite failing to close the gap between themselves and leaders Sundowns on Monday.

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Two Orlando Pirates players left the pitch to have wounds stitched up during an intense Premier Soccer League clash with Mamelodi Sundowns on Monday, 3 April 2019 at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Neither side drew blood in terms of the scoresheet, but twice Downs players left an impression on Pirates. The Buccaneers’ Wayne Sandilands and Luvuyo Memela received touchline stitches after injuries picked up in separate incidents during the 0-0 draw.

Sandilands was injured during a clash of heads with Sundowns player Wayne Arendse. He was stitched up by medical staff and after a brief attempt to play on was forced to withdraw from the game.

Memela was laid out by an over-exuberant tackle from Sundowns skipper Hlompo Kekane, who has since apologised for the challenge.

Kekane told kickoff.com: “Fortunately it was a scratch. I was not happy and my match just ended because I was so sad.”

“He went off with a stretcher, so I was not sure how he was doing. I went to the dressing room and found him showering because the rest of the team had not arrived and then I apologised.

“I want to check on him again today and see how he is doing.”

It is unclear at this stage if either player will be available for Pirates’ next assignment, a trip to play another title rival in the form of Bidvest Wits. The Buccaneers meet the Students on Saturday 6 April.

A statement on Orlandopiratesfc.com read: “Whilst both players will still undergo further assessment to determine the full extent of their injuries the Bucs medical team was able to reveal to Orlandopiratesfc.com that Sandilands was forced off after feeling light-headed as a result of the loss of blood following his clash with Downs defender Wayne Arendse.”

“Despite the efforts of the doctors stitching up Sandilands’ wound, the goal minder struggled to finish the match and was later forced off the field after complaining to the medical team.”

“Meanwhile, Memela suffered a nasty gash above his knee following a clash with captain Hlompho Kekana. The gash was too big to stitch up quickly for the player to return in time hence the decision was taken to substitute the player.”

Monday’s stalemate has left Pirates three points adrift of title favourites Sundowns. Wits are also three points behind Downs but are behind Pirates on goal difference. All teams in the PSL have six games left to play.

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