Baroka FC started their DStv Premiership campaign with a 2-1 win over Maritzburg United on Saturday afternoon .
Bongokuhle Hlongwane dropped to the bench on the side of Maritzburg with Malebogo Modise given his first start, while Baroka had former Orlando Pirates man Augustine Mahlonoko on the bench.
The first sight to the breakthrough went to the visitors six minutes after the start with Thabiso Kutumela steering a threaded ball from Judas Moseamedi narrowly wide.
Baroka grabbed the lead four minutes later when Richard Mbulu charged into the area to tap beyond Maritzburg goalkeeper Bongani Mpandle.
Moseamedi almost clawed the away side level from a header off a corner-kick just after the midway period, but the resultant attempt skimmed wide of Elvis Chipezeze’s goal.
Maritzburg weren’t done asking questions of their counterparts three minutes to the half-hour mark with Kutumela’s pin-point header bringing Chipezeze to sharp reflexes.
The Team of Choice went close to moving level a minute after halftime from a rasping strike from Tebogo Tlolane, but Chipezeze tipped around the post.
The wasted chance didn’t go unpunished by the hosts when Nhlanhla Mgaqa found space outside the danger area on 57 minutes to fire through Mpandle.
A double substitution from Eric Tinkler three minutes later saw Jose Ali Meza making his debut and Sibusiso Hlubi replacing Nathanael Bongo-Mbourou.
Keagan Buchanan picked out Rushine De Reuck from a good looking free-kick on 65 minutes, but the defender headed over the top.
The Team of Choice maintained momentum thereafter and brought the match to life in the final six minutes with a first-time finish from a tight angle by Meza.
Maritzburg pushed for the equaliser in the latter minutes of the match, but Bakgaga locked up the gates to start the season on a high.
Baroka: Chipezeze, Sibiya, Makume, Jampies, Gebhardt, Shozi, Kambala, Masiya, Mbulu, Mgaga, Makgopa.
Subs: Molapo, Seema, Phiri, Nkabinde, Makubhu, Mahlonoko, Mogale.
Maritzburg: Mpandle, Sanoka, Allie, Kutumela, De Reuck, Bongo Mbourou, Buchanan, Claasen, Tlolane, Moseamedi, Modise.
Subs: Barr, Ismail, Hlubi, Shandu, Hlongwane, Bhengu, Meza.