Orlando Pirates bounced back to winning ways in the DStv Premiership when they edged out Maritzburg United 2-1 at the Orlando Stadium on Friday night.
The win elevated the Buccaneers to the third spot on the league standings ahead of their blockbuster Soweto Derby clash against Kaizer Chiefs on February 25.
While the Team of Choice remained on the relegation playoff spot (15th) on the standings and they will now face off with SuperSport United on February 24.
The Buccaneers controlled the game from the start, but they couldn’t penetrate the Team of Choice’s solid defence with Bandile Shandu missing the target with a long-range shot two minutes into the game.
Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, who is known for his long-range shooting ability, also tried his luck from distance and his effort flew over the crossbar in the 37th minute as Maritzburg contained the hosts.
However, the in-form Monnapule Saleng was not to be denied in first-half stoppage time as he cut inside from the right before scoring to hand Pirates a 1-0 lead heading into the halftime break.
Saleng and Thembinkosi Lorch tormented the Team of Choice’s defence after the restart and Ndlondlo came very close to scoring when his stunning strike hit the woodwork in the 70th minute.
Pirates deservedly doubled their lead 19 minutes left on the clock when Terrence Dzvukamanja netted with a diving header from Saleng’s top-notch free-kick to make it 2-0 to the home side.
However, the Soweto giants went to sleep at the back in the latter stages of the game and they allowed Tumelo Njoti to snatch a late consolation goal in the 85th minute, and ultimately, Pirates secured a 2-1 win.
Pirates (1) 2 (Saleng 45’+1, Dzvukamanja 71′)
Maritzburg (0) 1 (Njoti 85′)
Pirates: Chaine, Xoki, Maela, Mako, Shandu (Moyane 46′), Hotto, Ndlondlo (Makhaula 75′), Timm, Saleng (Marou 81′), Lorch (Dlamini 61′), Dzvukamanja (Erasmus 75′).
Maritzburg: Leaner, Bhengu (Makume 79′), De Goede, Palace, Cross, Human, Moloisane, Jooste, Njoti (Meza 86′), Soukouna (Karim 62′), Peprah (Samu 79′)
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