Orlando Pirates clinch the MTN8 title on Saturday evening after Monnapule Saleng's stunner secured a 1-0 win over AmaZulu at Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Pirates were without captain Innocent Maela and Goodman Mosele, although they did welcome back goalkeeper Richard Ofori and Miguel Timm, while AmaZulu recalled Gabadinho Mhango, George Maluleka and Sphesihle Maduna.
The Buccaneers were forced to make a substitution in the opening minute when Nkosinathi Sibisi appeared to pick up a hamstring and was stretchered off, with Paseka Mako brought on as the replacement.
Pirates still came forward following a frenetic opening and nearly had the lead after Olisa Ndah headed onto the roof of the net from a corner-kick by Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo.
It took the Buccaneers only 25 minutes to make the breakthrough when Monnapule Saleng curled home a free-kick from an awkward angle over Veli Mothwa and into the net.
A nasty collision at the other end between Ofori and Ramahlwe Mphahlele from a corner saw the Usuthu defender forced off the field of play, before Mbongeni Gumede was brought on at right-back.
Usuthu very nearly drew level on the brink of halftime through a powerful free-kick from outside the area by Maluleka, but Ofori tipped over the top.
Substitutions from either side ahead of the resumption saw the Buccaneers bring on Bandile Shandu for James Monyane whereas AmaZulu sacrificed Augustine Kwem for former Pirates striker Lehlohonolo Majoro.
Majoro nearly levelled matters midway through the second half when his header from a corner bounced off the woodwork and back into play before Dumisani Zuma guided the follow-up wide.
AmaZulu maintained momentum around the closing exchanges and gave Pirates little outlets before Saleng threatened a brace from a rasping shot in the area off a loose ball.
The Buccaneers managed the remaining seconds of the match well and were confirmed winners of the MTN8.
Orlando Pirates: Ofori, Sibisi, Ndah, Xoki, Monyane, Timm, Motshwari, Hotto, Ndlondlo, Saleng, Erasmus.
Subs: Mpontshane, Mako, Shandu, Lepasa, Dlamini, Mokgopa, Pule, Nga, Makgaka.
AmaZulu: Mothwa, Sikhakhane, Hanamub, Mphahlele, Mobara, Makhaula, Bwalya, Maluleka, Kwem, Maduna, Mhango.
Subs: Amonome, Mabiliso, Gumede, Malepe, Buchanan, Brooks, Zuma, Ndlovu, Majoro.
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