Orlando Pirates claimed a narrow 1-0 away win over Golden Arrows in an Absa Premiership clash at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday night.
Justin Shonga’s first-half goal secured victory for the Buccaneers, who moved up to second place on the log, while Abafana Bes’thende remain in 10th place.
The first real effort in anger came from Pirates’ Musa Nyatama in the 14th minute, with the midfielder firing a shot on target from the ‘D’ of the penalty area, but Nkosingiphile Gumede tipped the ball away for a corner kick.
Yet the Arrows goalkeeper was left helpless on 20 minutes, with Pirates opening the scoring through a fine finish from Justin Shonga. The Zambian curled a left-footed shot into the corner of the net after a quick exchange of passes from a set piece.
Ten minutes later the hosts should have drawn level: Wayne Sandilands did well to save Seth Parusnath’s long-range shot, and the rebound fell kindly for Knox Mutizwa in the middle of the penalty area. However, the Arrows attacker was unable to get away a first-time shot which surely would have brought parity in the score line.
Abafana Bes’thende laid siege to the Pirates goal in what remained of the first half, but the interval saw the visitors heading into the change rooms with a 1-0 advantage.
The Buccaneers made a change at the start of the second half as they withdrew Ben Motshwari, who appeared to be struggling with injury in the latter parts of the first half, and replaced him with Abel Mabaso.
Near the hour mark Pirates began to build pressure around Arrows’ penalty area, with the hosts needing Gumede to be sharp in dealing with crosses and through balls behind his defence.
Pirates’ lead remained a tenuous one and they were unable to add to it, even in the 81st minute when a mistake in defence allowed Thembinkosi Lorch a clear sight of goal – albeit from a tight angle – and he sent a low shot flashing across the face of goal.
Pirates will return to league action in midweek with a clash at home to Bloemfontein Celtic, while Arrows will be away to Polokwane City next Saturday afternoon.
Golden Arrows 0
Orlando Pirates (1) 1 (Shonga 20’)
Golden Arrows: Gumede, Sibisi, Mzava, Bilankulu, Lunga, Ndwandwe (Sabelo 70’), Parusnath, Phiri, Venter, Sibiya (Sibeko 81’), Mutizwa (Lamola 73’)
Orlando Pirates: Sandilands, Jele, Ndengane, Maela, Lorch, Nyatama, Motshwari (Mabaso 46’), Memela (Mlambo 62’), Mahachi (Mulenga 85’), Shonga, Pule