An own goal from Gerald Modisane assisted 10-man Orlando Pirates to a 1-0 win over Chippa United in an Absa Premiership clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday evening.
The defender prodded the ball into the back of his own net in the first-half against a Pirates team that had Mthokozisi Dube sent off in the second.
The Buccaneers dominated possession in the early exchanges and duly opened the scoring with 16 minutes on clock, albeit via rather fortunate circumstances.
Shonga’s free-kick thunderbolt rattled the woodwork and looked set for safety only for Modisane to hack the rebound into the back of his own net, to the surprise and frustration of his goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi.
The hosts struggled to find a way in behind the Buccaneers defensive line and as a result tried their luck from range, with Boikanyo Komane seeing his shot from way out fly inches over the crossbar.
Chippa continued their search for the equalizer after the break, but Daine Klate could only succeed in guiding his free-kick straight down Siyabonga Mpontshane’s throat.
Paseka Mako then squandered an opportunity at the other end of the pitch to double Pirates’ lead in the 54th minute, as he failed to capitalize with the goal at his mercy.
Ten minutes later, Shonga looked sure to find the back of the net from Vincent Pule’s corner-kick, but the forward’s header bounced off the turf and over the woodwork from point-blank range.
Pirates were then dealt a blow in the 71st minute as Dube received his marching orders following a second bookable offence. Referee Victor Gomes issuing the first red card of the season.
This breathed further life into the Chilli Boys who upped the tempo in the closing stages. Former Buccaneer favourite, Klate, ignited a catalogue of missed chances with the winger guiding his volley attempt inches wide in the 81st minute.
Ruzaigh Gamildien’s introduction almost worked a treat for head coach Dan Malesela with the midfielder’s sharply taken free-kick finding Frédéric Nsabiyumva who was brilliantly denied by Mpontshane.
Mpontshane, who was drafted into the starting 11 following Wayne Sandilands costly error over the past weekend, was at it again soon after – this time to deny Gamildien from finding the back of the net.
Pirates ultimately held on for all three points, to the relief of the Ghost following their stuttering start.
Chippa United 0
Orlando Pirates (1) 1 (OG Modisane 16′)
Chippa United: Akpeyi; Makobela, Nsabiyumva, Modisane, Tlolane (Mbenyane 83′), Rakhale, Komane (Gamildien 69′), Mahola (Sangweni 52′), Klate, Lentjies, Kgamanyane.
Orlando Pirates: Mpontshane; Jele, Shitolo, Maela, Dube, Mlambo, Nyatama, Makola (Mobara 86′), Mako, Pule (Mahachi 65′), Shonga (Thopola 76′).