Orlando Pirates defeated SuperSport United 1-0 to boost their hopes of securing a CAF Champions League spot on Saturday evening.
Captain Innocent Maela returned from suspension and Thabang Monare were also re-instated following Pirates’ win over Venda Football Academy in the Nedbank Cup, whereas United welcomed back Bradley Grobler.
Matsatsantsa enjoyed a bright start and saw Grobler head over at the near post from a corner before Patrick Maswangayi’s long-range drive stung the gloves of goalkeeper Sipho Chaine.
Pirates soon came into their own following a quiet start where Thembinkosi Lorch looked to sneak in-behind from a reverse pass by Kabelo Dlamini, but Kegan Johannes narrowed the angle.
The Buccaneers pushed up again before the half-hour mark and saw Kermit Erasmus’ snap-shot on the volley inside the area blocked by former Pirates defender Thulani Hlatshwayo.
Matsatsantsa, though, regained momentum seven minutes ahead of halftime where Zakhele Lepasa opened an angle and dragged a low pass to the danger area wide of target.
No changes were instituted from the respective sides at the opening of the second half, with the Buccaneers off to a lively start early into the resumption.
With the breakthrough hard to come by, Pirates introduced Evidence Makgopa for Erasmus and sacrificed Dlamini to bring on Fortune Makaringe.
Matsatsantsa cut open the Sea Robbers on the counter-attack following a corner a little later and Maswangayi set clear to dummy Maela before seeing Chaine narrow the angle to block his shot.
Pirates broke the deadlock from the penalty spot with ten minutes to play as Tapelo Xoki send Ricardo Goss the wrong way following a foul on Monnapule Saleng in the area.
It was the Sea Robbers that enjoyed the late momentum and pushed United to the edge on all fronts and ultimately sealed the win that strengthened their push towards second-place.
Orlando Pirates: Chaine, Xoki, Sibisi, Maela, Mako, Monare, Timm, Saleng, Lorch, Dlamini, Erasmus
Subs: Mpontshane, Monyane, Mthethwa, Ndlondlo, Makaringe, Pule, Makgopa, Hotto, Marou
SuperSport United: Goss, Ditlhokwe, Maswanganyi, Margeman, Lepasa, Maseko, Ndlovu, Hlatshwayo, Johannes, Lungu, Grobler
Subs: Chigova, Nhlapo, Ngoma, Gabuza, Webber, Sibanyoni, Bhasera, Niang, Kewuti
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