ORLANOD Pirates climbed up to fourth place on the Absa Premiership table when they defeated Maritzburg United 1-0 at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night.
Helder Pelembe came off the bench to score the only goal of the match late in the second half following a solid defensive performance from the visitors.
The hosts showed their intentions as early as the opening minute when Khethokwakhe Masuku found Thamsanqa Gabuza on the right side of the box, but he fired wide of the near post.
The first shot on target came just six minutes later when Rooi Mahamutsa picked up the ball in the middle of the park and surged forward before unleashing a dipping shot which Shu-aib Walters was forced to tip over the crossbar.
The Buccaneers came close to breaking the deadlock in the 15th minute when Happy Jele rose unchallenged to meet an outswinging corner from Masuku, only to see his header cleared off the line by Ruben Cloete.
Pirates continued to dominate possession with nothing to show for it as their next chance came from a freekick in the 43rd minute. Masuku managed to get his effort over the wall but the ball curled just wide of the top left corner.
Pirates stared the second half brightly with Gabuza looking to get behind the United defence and he had a good chance in the 54th minute following a poor clearance from Mohamed Awal, but his shot was blocked by Walters.
The Team of Choice had their first opportunity of the match five minutes later when Heinrich Isaacks cut in from the right flank and raced into the box before forcing a good low save from Senzo Meyiwa.
The Buccaneers then missed the target on two occasions with Gabuza blasting the ball over the crossbar from the edge of the box in the 61st minute, before Pelembe drilled an effort wide three minutes later.
The next shot came from the away side in the 83rd minute as Bongolwethu Jayiya set the ball up for Isaacks, but this time he failed to hit the target as his shot sailed over the crossbar.
Pirates stole the three points in the 87th minute when Gabuza collected the ball on the right side of the box and drilled it across goal for Pelembe to finish from the centre of the penalty area.
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Pelembe 87’)
Maritzburg United 0
Orlando Pirates: Meyiwa, Matlaba, Jele (Lekgwathi 67’), Mahamutsa, Sangweni, Makola, Masuku, Masalesa (Ntshumayelo 54’), Manyisa, Myeni (Pelembe 46’), Gabuza
Maritzburg United: Walters, Evans, Booysen M, Awal, Cloete, Morton (De Jongh 81’), Hartog (Mandaza 90’), Mkhize (Vilakazi 89’), Jayiya, Isaacks, Smeekes.
In another league match played tonight, Ajax Cape Town beat SuperSport United 2-0 at the Cape Town Stadium –Backpage TXT