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Mamelodi Sundowns 1-1 Orlando Pirates: Controversial decisions by referee Lerato Ndzandzeka put in the spotlight by SABC Sport’s Victor Hlungwani

Several controversial decisions were made by referee Thando Ndzandzeka during the tense DStv Premiership encounter between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates that ended 1-1 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane. Resident referee on SABC Sport Victor Hlungwani broke these down, and not without contention from the other guests.

The DStv Premiership encounter between Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane last week Saturday promised to be an exciting. However, it did excite, though it was for all the wrong reason in what was a tense, cagey and feisty affair.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

At the centre of it all was meant to be Thembinkosi Lorch making his debut for the Brazilians against his former employers. Instead, referee Thando Ndzanzeka was more visible than anyone – including himself – hoped he would be.

Respected former referee Victor Hlungwani, now a resident referee on SABC Sport’s weekly magazine review show Soccer Zone broke down Ndzandzeka’s decisions. His analysis was met with either agreement or skepticism by the guests and host on the Monday night programme.

The first incident involved Miguel Timm’s reckless tackle on Lorch early in the game. Timm was lucky to get away with just a yellow card, as other referee’s have dished out red cards for similar offences.

The defensive midfielder would then needlessly commit a second bookable offence, impeding Sundowns goalkeeper Ronwen Williams as he aimed to clear the ball with a dropkick. There was absolutely no doubt about the validity of this decision by Ndzandzeka, though he had mistakenly given the yellow card to Olisa Ndah, before correcting himself.

Another talking point was Pirates’ penalty that led to the equaliser by Tapelo Xoki. There is no doubt that the decision was spot-on, but the circumstances that led to it are a problem, as Pirates resorted to skullduggery in the corner kick that preceded the incident. 

As per News24, Sundowns head coach Rhulani hit out at the officiating of the match afterwards, saying:

“As the coach, when my team is not playing well, I am the first, of course, that needs to be accountable for that, and I don’t think that was a good game of football in my opinion.

“There were far too many off-the-ball incidents, far too many elbows … and I don’t think the referees had control of the game either. I don’t talk about referees, so the least I say, the better, but this was not a game of football I liked at all.”

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