Orlando Pirates got their first win of the season in the DStv Premiership following a 1-0 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic on Wednesday evening.
Thulani Hlatshwayo missed his first match in the colours of the Buccaneers with Happy Jele recalled, while Celtic opted to rest Ndumiso Mabena ahead of the MTN8 semi-final second-leg this weekend.
Pirates were forced into an early change 15 minutes from the start when Thembinkosi Lorch pulled up with a suspected hamstring injury and had his spot taken by Deon Hotto.
The Buccaneers were soon put to work at the other end as a full stretched save from Richard Ofori parried Sello Matjila’s cross-cum shot from out wide.
Celtic continued to hold their own against the mighty Buccaneers in the closing minutes of the first half, despite the threats out wide from Hotto and Wayde Jooste.
Matjila livened up the home side’s quest eight minutes to halftime when he launched in a free-kick into the area for Motebang Sera, who headed narrowly wide of target.
Jele looked to break the deadlock in the first minute of the second half from a pull back by Hotto, but the Pirates captained headed wide of the mark.
A double substitution from the Buccaneers before 60 minutes saw Siphesihle Ndlovu and Paseka Mako entering in place of Terrence Dzvukamanja and Thabang Monare.
It became an inspired substitution 12 minutes from time when Mako pulled across to allocate Ndlovu into space, as the midfielder took the ball in his stride to curl beyond Sipho Chaine.
The Buccaneers had a chance to double their tally before full-time, but were forced to settle for a narrow 1-0 win.
Celtic: Chaine, Rikhotso, Chabalala, Lingwati, De Jongh, Smith, Luthuli, Matjila, Maema, Potsane; Sera.
Subs: Phafoli, Tani, Ngobeni, Mofokeng, Kobedi, Ndwandwe, Nyamande, Mangweni, Tchilimbou.
Pirates: Ofori, Jele, Nyauza, Jooste, Maela, Motshwari, Monare, Pule, Lorch, Dzvukumanja, Lepasa.
Subs: Mpontshane, Mabaso, Mntambo, Mako, Dlamini, Makaringe, Makgaka, Hotto, Ndlovu