Stellenbosch FC opened the 2023/24 DStv Premiership campaign in perfect fashion after recording a 1-0 win over Orlando Pirates at the Danie Craven Stadium.
The Maroons welcomed Orlando Pirates to the Danie Craven Stadium on Saturday evening for the club’s first match of the 2023/24 season, and made the perfect start to the campaign by picking up a victory over the Buccaneers in front of the home supporters.
Steve Barker fielded three debutants in his run-on XI in the form of Thabo Moloisane, Ismael Toure, and Genino Palace, and watched as his side defended valiantly at the back and as effectively on transition against their opponents from Soweto during the early stages of the match.
It was Pirates who made the faster start to the encounter, though, and they came closest to scoring in the opening 30 minutes when Bafana Bafana international Monnapule Saleng struck the crossbar from a powerful effort from the edge of the box.
That missed opportunity was capitalised on at the other end soon after when Stellies’ Antonio van Wyk latched onto a through ball from Fawaaz Basadien and fired his side into the lead, slotting the ball through the legs of Bucs ‘keeper Sipho Chaine and into the back of the net.
From there, the encounter descended into a physical and tension-filled battle, while goalkeeper Sage Stephens and the new-look centre-back pairing of Moloisane and Toure put their bodies on the line to preserve their side’s lead in the second half.
They were ultimately able to do just that, with the latter walking away with the Man of the Match award for his efforts, as Stellenbosch held firm to claim a 1-0 win over Orlando Pirates.
Barker’s charges will be in action again next week Wednesday when the Maroons take on newly-promoted Polokwane City in the DStv Premiership, before going head-to-head with SuperSport United in the MTN 8 quarter-finals four days later.