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2 - 1
(0 - 1)
Orlando Stadium
04/02/2014 19:30

Tinkler's Pirates beat Wits

Posted: 4 February 2014 Time: 19:04

Orlando Pirates interim coach Eric Tinkler claimed three points in his first game in charge of Bucs following a 2-1 victory over his former club Bidvest Wits on Tuesday night.

READ: Tinkler salutes Bucs character

Wits struck first through their captain Sibusiso Vilakazi, but the Buccaneers hit back via second-half goals from strikers Helder Pelembe and Kermit Erasmus at Orlando Stadium.  

The result leaves Pirates sixth on the Premiership table with 23 points from 12 games - two points behind fifth-placed Wits, and 13 points adrift of pacesetting champions Kaizer Chiefs, who have played an extra four fixtures.

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Tinkler's men - who came under his control following Roger de Sa's exit from Mayfair last week - should have scored in the first minute of the tie. However, Lehlogonolo Masalesa ballooned the ball over the cross bar from close range following a Happy Jele flick-on off a corner.

The hosts continued to dominate early on, as Pelembe flashed an effort narrowly wide of Moeneeb Josephs' goal before Aubrey Ngoma drilled a shot straight at the Wits goalkeeper.

But it was the Students who drew first blood in the 20th minute, as Vilakazi tucked in a right-wing cross at the near post after stealing in ahead of Jele. 

The home side nearly equalised just before the half-hour mark, but Josephs, who impressed in his first outing since being blasted by Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula for his Chan showing, pulled off a sharp reaction save to deny Pelembe's first-time shot from the edge of the area.

Soon after, ex-Buccaneer Josephs dropped down smartly to his left to keep out a powerful long-range strike from Man of the Match Khethokwakhe Masuku, as Wits took a narrow lead into the break.

Jele threatened 10 minutes after the interval, but the overlapping right-back blasted over on the angle after being teed up in the area by the tricky Masuku.

At the other end, new Wits signing Sthembiso Ngcobo headed wide off a right-wing cross from Erwin Isaacs.

The Sea Robbers, though, got even in the 56th minute through Pelembe, who brilliantly nodded in a corner from Masuku for his first goal for the Soweto giants.

Tinkler's charges then went ahead in the 73rd minute when Erasmus, a second-half replacement for midfielder Masalesa, headed in a left-wing cross from Thabo Matlaba, with the visitors unable to find a way back in Soweto.

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