Two first-half goals were enough to give Baroka FC a 2-0 victory over Marumo Gallants FC in their DStv Premiership opener on Saturday evening.
The loss of Goodman Mosele saw Athenkosi Dladla get a start in the Baroka midfield while Richard Mbulu joined Evidence Makgopa up front. Meanwhile, Maboke Matlakala headlined the starting line-up of Gallants.
It was the host that made the breakthrough inside 16 minutes with a first-time volley in the area by Manuel Kambala after Gallants failed to deal properly with an in-swinging free-kick.
Gallants came very close to draw level through a low rasping strike from a tight angle by Matlakala a few minutes later following a throw-in.
Bakgaga Ba Ga Mphahlele snatched a second on the right half-hour mark after a palm by goalkeeper Washington Arubi fell straight at Makgopa to slot into an unguarded net.
An early substitution from Gallants due to injury ten minutes to the end of the first half saw Mpho Mvelase introduced for former Golden Arrows man Lehlohonolo Nonyane.
The two sides entered the second half with substitutions in Katlego Otladisa and Lebohang Mabotja for Gallants and Nhlanhla Mgaqa in for Bakgaga.
Gallants looked energised soon following the break moreover from a smart shot out on the near side by Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo which worked a save off Baroka goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke.
Bakgaga struggled to deal with the pressure from the visitors late on and needed a goal-line clearance from Ananias Gebhardt to thwart Thembisani Nevhulamba’s long-range dink.
In the end, the host had done enough to grab a win in their season opener much to the disappointment of Gallants under their new man Sebastien Migne.
Baroka: Masuluke, Gebhardt, Sibiya, Mokhabi, Mbulu, Dlala, Kambala, Shozi, Chauke, Mphahlele, Makgopa.
Subs: Chipezeze, Seema, Phiri Jr, Sithole, Mgaga, Malivha, Masiya, Monama, Farmer.
Marumo: Arubi, Hlatshwayo, Ravhuhali, Nkili, Nonyane, Ngema, Ndlondlo, Khiba, Mnyamane, Manaka, Matlakala.
Subs: Ndlovu, Nevhulamba, Mvelase, Otladisa, Mokgope, Nkosi, Malongoane, Mabotja, Monde.