Orlando Pirates secured a 1-0 win over Maritzburg United in an Absa Premiership match at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The victory took the Buccaneers to the fourth spot on the league standings, while the Team of Choice remained sixth on the table.
The Buccaneers dominated possession in the opening stages of the match with Lerato Lepasa having been rewarded with a start after scoring against SuperSport United.
However, the Pirates centre forward was tightly marked by the Team of Choice defence which was marshalled by the experienced Nazeer Allie.
Maritzburg grew in confidence as the match progressed and they had a rare chance in the 20th minute following a good move involving Bongokuhle Hongwane and Thabiso Kutumela.
Hlongwane controlled the ball well inside the box, before setting up Kutumela, whose strike from a tight angle was brilliantly blocked by Fortune Makaringe.
However, Pirates took control of the match after the cooling break and they had a chance to break the deadlock through Thembinkosi Lorch in the 42nd minute.
Lorch unleashed a half volley from inside the box, but Maritzburg goalkeeper Richard Ofori produced a fine low save to deny the reigning PSL Footballer of the Year.
The momentum was with the visitors as Vincent Pule’s effort hit the woodwork with Ofori well beaten just before halftime and the score was 0-0 at the interval.
Pirates continued to push for the opening goal after the restart and they nearly scored through Lorch a few minutes after into the second-half.
The ball fell kindly for the Bafana Bafana international inside the box, but his low effort was brilliantly saved by Ghana’s first-choice goalkeeper Richard Ofori.
However, the Team of Choice began pressing Bucs and Hlongwane’s forced Wayne Sandilands into a fantastic low save just before the hour-mark.
Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer reacted by introducing attackers Tshegofatso Mabasa, Frank Mhango and Kabelo Dlamini as the visitors looked to break the deadlock.
The Buccaneers pushed for a late winning goal with Pule and Dlamini playing crosses into the box for Frank Mhango and Mabasa in the closing stages of the match.
It was Mhango, who proved to be a super-sub as he beat Ofori with a well-taken shot to seal Pirates’ 1-0 win over Maritzburg in the 90th minute.
As a result, the Malawian striker joined Highlands Park’s Peter Shalulile at the top of the league’s goalscoring charts with 15 goals each and one game left for both teams.
Maritzburg (0) 0
Pirates (0) 1 (Mhango 90′)
Maritzburg: Ofori, Sanoka, Allie, Kutumela, De Reuck, Mbourou, Timm, Claasen (Shandu 76′), Mngonyama, Tlolane, Hlongwane (Augusto 86′).
Pirates: Sandilands, Monyane, Maela, Jele, Mako, Makaringe (Mhango 83′), Pule, Motshwari, Lepasa (Mabasa 70′, Ndengane 90’+4), Ndlovu, Lorch (Dlamini 70′).©
SOURCED FROM THE PSL WEBSITE.