Orlando Pirates moved up to third place in the DStv Premiership standings following their hard-fought 1-0 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic at the Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.
Josef Zinnbauer were without the services of midfielder Thabang Monare, who is suspended for the clash after picking up his fourth yellow during their victory over Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup
Celtic, meanwhile, are also with one player in the form of Tshepo Rikhotso, who is serving his last match suspension after receiving a red card in his sides’ 1-1 draw with Chippa United.
The Buccaneers started the game on a good note and managed to grab the first chance of the game when Vincent Pule cut inside the box before unleashing a shot at goal, but he was unable able to find the target as his effort deflected out of play.
Pirates had another chance to break the deadlock in the 22nd minute after Pule did well to hold the ball off for Kabelo Dlamini, who struggled to find his way around the Celtic defence before he took the shot on, which was deflected out.
Deon Hotto almost handed Pirates the lead in spectacular fashion in the 39th minute when he latched on to a ball into the box before attempting an acrobatic effort, but unfortunately, he was unable to turn the ball into the net.
Pirates had an opportunity to take the lead with two minutes left to play but Fortune Makaringe failed to hit the target with his effort from range.
Jackson Mabokgwane was called into action in stoppage time when he produced a fine save to keep out Siphesihle Ndlovu's effort after collecting a looping rebound from a blocked shot inside the box.
Celtic were then reduced to 10-men deep in stoppage time after Ndumiso Mabena received his marching orders for a harsh challenge on Linda Mntambo as the game went into the half time break.
Pirates dominated proceedings early in the second half and produced the first chance after Pule beat his marker before unleashing his strike at goal, but the attacker fizzed his well-struck shot just wide of goal.
Richard Ofori was called into action for the first time in the 50th minute when he produced a superb save to keep out Victor Letsoalo’s low shot before denying Lucky Baloyi in a one-on-situation eight minutes later.
Pirates eventually took the lead in the 62nd minute through Makaringe, who skipped past three defenders on the edge of the box before unleashing a fine shot into the bottom corner.
The home side nearly doubled their lead two minutes later but Mabokgwane did enough to deal with Paseka Mako shot from inside the box.
Zinnbauer opted to bring on fresh legs in the 75th minute as Tshegofatso Mabasa and Azola Tshobeni came on to replace Hotto and Dlamini before taking off Pule and Mntambo for Bongani Sam and Gabadinho Mhango 13 minutes later.
Justice Chabalala kept his side in the game in stoppage time when he made a sliding tackle to deny Mako, who was teed up by Makaringe.
However, Pirates managed to hold on to their lead until the final whistle to secure all three points against Bloem Celtic.
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