Pirates beat Maritzburg to go second

Orlando Pirates edged out Maritzburg United 2-1 in an Absa Premiership match at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.

The win takes Bucs to second spot on the league standings, while the Team of Choice remain sixth on the table.

The match got off to a lively start with the Buccaneers and Team of Choice launching attacks in search for an early goal.

Justin Shonga, who recently opened his scoring account for Pirates, made a good run in the 11th minute, before forcing Maritzburg goalkeeper Richard Ofori into a comfortable save.

The hosts grew in confidence as the match progressed and they were awarded a free-kick in a promising area a few minutes before the half-hour mark.

Thabiso Kutumela stepped up and made no mistake as he beat Ofori with a brilliant effort to make it 1-0 to Pirates much to the delight of the home crowd.

The 2015/16 National First Division (NFD) Golden Boot winner nearly made it 2-0 to Pirates a few minutes later as pressure mounted on the Team of Choice.

However, Kutumela's effort was finger-tipped over the crossbar by Ofori with Luvuyo Memela having provided a good cross.

The Team of Choice managed to contain the hosts and the score was 1-0 to Pirates at the interval.

Pirates began the second-half brightly and they managed to double their lead through Happy Jele, who had made his first start since last September.

The experienced defender headed home Memela's corner-kick to make it 2-0 with Ghana international Ofori well-beaten two minutes after the restart.

Maritzburg were very unfortunate when Bandile Shandu's thunderous effort beat Pirates keeper Jackson Mabokgwane, but the ball hit the upright on the hour-mark.

The Team of Choice continued to attack and they deservedly pulled one back when Siyanda Xulu headed home Deolin Mekoa's free-kick to make it 2-1 in the 73rd minute.

The visitors piled pressure on the Bucs defence in the closing stages of the game, but Jele and his defence were able to contain Maritzburg until the referee blew the final whistle, and Pirates secured a 2-1 win on the night.

Pirates (1) 2 (Kutumela 30', Jele 47')

Maritzburg (0) 1 (Xulu 73')

Teams:

Orlando Pirates: Mabokgwane, Dube, Maela, Shitolo, Nyauza, Jele, Munetsi, Nyatama, Shonga (Foster 89'), Memela, Kutumela (Mlambo 63').

Maritzburg United: Ofori, Xulu, Fransman, Onyango (Kunene 67'), Makaringe, Maboe, Ndlovu, Mekoa, Fillecia, Shandu, Mokate (Twala 46').