Orlando Pirates registered a sixth successive Absa Premiership victory with a late winner against Black Leopards on Sunday afternoon.
Pirates welcomed back top scorer Gabadinho Mhango from suspension with Linda Mntambo and Thabiso Monyane getting starts as the visitors looked to put their Nedbank Cup exit behind them.
The Buccaneers threatened a seventh minute lead, but Mhango’s snap-shot inside the six-yard area was deflected behind for a corner kick.
Mntambo edged closer to the deadlock following the midway stage, but his first-time strike from the edge of the six-yard area ballooned over the top.
Lidoda Duvha should’ve taken the lead before the half-hour mark when a one-two outside the area released Thabo Matlaba who ballooned over the top with only Wayne Sandilands to beat.
Then a one-handed palm from Sandilands moments later denied Edwin Gyimah the chance to head the home side ahead from a corner to the back post.
Pirates responded a little later with Luvuyo Memela attempting to lob Rotshidzwa Muleka from the middle of the park, while Mogakolodi Ngele hit the woodwork at the other end.
Leopards were first to make a substitution, as Robert Ngambi replaced Pentjie Zulu straight after halftime.
The Buccaneers continued threatening following the second period, as Memela fired goal-wards from outside the area, with Thembinkosi Lorch’s trickery causing all sorts of issues.
Vincent Pule got around the area and latched onto a through ball from the left to force Muleka parrying his attempt for a corner following the 68th minute. From the corner, Muleka made a double save as he palmed Lorch’s downward header back into play before pushing Pule’s looping header behind.
The Sea Robbers threw their final dice in pursuit of the winner, as Austin Muwowo and Kabelo Dlamini came on in the final ten minutes.
Josef Zinnabauer’s side smiled at the death when Thabiso Mokoena headed a cross from Pule into his own net-giving the Buccaneers all the points.
Leopards: Muleka, Mudau, Zulu, Masia, Matlaba, Gyimah, Abubakar, Bereng, Ngele, Kapinga, Musonda.
Subs: Maduwa, Ndou, Mncwango, Mokoena, X.Ndlovu, Ng'ambi, Khutlang.
Pirates: Sandilands, Monyane, Maela, Jele, Nyauza, Mntambo, Lorch, Ndlovu, Mhango, Memela, Pule.
Subs: Delle, Ndengane, Mako, Dlamini, Lepasa, Mulenga, Muwowo.