Orlando Pirates climbed to third place in the DStv Premiership standings after securing a late 1-0 win over Chippa United on Wednesday evening.
Paseka Mako and Thabiso Monyane came in on the side of Pirates who also gave Thembinkosi Lorch a start following his match-winning display against Bloemfontein Celtic in the MTN8 final.
Pirates were thrown into disarray four minutes into the match when Zakhele Lepasa was stretchered off following a knock and Gabadinho Mhango introduced as his replacement.
Chippa kept the Sea Robbers at the bay minutes in when a low cross on the right found Lorch, who failed to get past goalkeeper Ayanda Mtshali with a rasping shot.
Last season’s top scorer Mhango received his first sight of goal in the final five minutes of the first half after bringing Mtshali to a one-hand tip from a looping header at the back-post.
Chippa were down to ten players a minute before additional time when Sandile Mthethwa got a straight red card following an elbow on Hotto.
A second substitution on the side of the Buccaneers at the start of the second half came, with Tshegofatso Mabasa introduced for Monyane.
Josef Zinnbauer’s side continued to battle away as Mabasa got stuck in immediately after launching a volley from close-range which the opposing defence blocked away.
Pirates looked for a smash and grab with a double substitution 20 minutes from time, as Nkanyiso Zungu replaced Ben Motshwari and Terrence Dzvukamanja coming on for Mabasa.
It proved a masterstroke when Fortune Makaringe latched onto a through pass from Linda Mntambo to fire beyond Mtshali, as the Chilli Boys went to sleep at the back.
Pirates had chances to grab a second in the closing minutes through Vincent Pule and Mntambo, but one goal was enough to secure three points on the night.
Pirates: Ofori, Nyauza, Maela, Monyane, Mako, Motshwari, Makaringe, Pule, Lorch, Hotto, Lepasa.
Subs: Mpontshane, Dzvukamanja, Mntambo, Sesane, Muwowo, Zungu, Mabasa, Ndlovu, Mhango.
Chippa: Mtshali, Khooa, Maloisane, Mobbie, Hanamub, Nhlapo, Mthethwa, Eva Nga, Phewa, Lebitso, Kwem.
Subs: Mazibuko, Sekotlong, Rae, Mogakwe, Mdlinzo, Mbenyane, Damons, Mokhele, Qinisile.