Orlando Pirates had Thamsanqa Gabuza to thank for scoring the only goal of the game at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Saturday night to give his side an important 1-0 win over Chippa United.
Gabuza was the hero for Pirates with his headed goal on 37 minutes to hand new coach Milutin Sredojevic all three points in his first league game of the season.
Orlando Pirates started well, knocking the ball around with purpose.
Brighton Mhlongo was forced into a good early save after Abbubaker Mobara and Thabo Matlaba combined before Matlaba fired in a powerful drive at the near-post.
Sizwe Mdlinzo shot well over the crossbar after the ball had dropped to him on 13 minutes, and while Chippa were starting to settle, Pirates were impressive on the counter.
Wayne Sandilands was quick off his line on 32 minutes to deny Moeketsi Sekola while Kurt Lentjies found some space to get a shot away on 35 minutes, but failed to hit the target.
But Pirates weren’t going to miss their best chance of the half, on 39 minutes, as Gabuza headed in a perfect Innocent Maela cross.
The hosts could have gone into the half-time break two goals up, but Musa Nyatama’s powerful shot skidded just off target.
It was a disjointed start to the second half for both sides and while Pirates were largely on top, they struggled in the way of creating chances, and Chippa wasted possession countless times.
The Chilli Boys injected some new blood into the side with some substitutions, as Lentjies was replaced by Abel Mabaso and Musa Nyatama made way for Amigo Memela for Pirates.
Both sides were restricted to shots from range, although Bucs remained the more dangerous of the two sides going forward.
Sekola smashed a hard and low free-kick into the wall for the last real kick of the game as Pirates sealed an important win.
. In other matches played yesterday, Polokwane City and Baroka FC played to a goalless draw at Old Peter Mokaba Stadium, while AmaZulu beat Free State Stars 1-0 at King Zwelithini Stadium.
Meanwhile, South Africa was knocked out of 2018 CHAN qualifiers after losing 2-0 (4-2 on aggregate) to Zambia in Ndola yesterday. – Sport24
Bloemfontein Celtic vs Kaizer Chiefs (Free State Stadium, 3pm); Platinum Stars vs Maritzburg United (Royal Bafokeng Stadium, 3pm)