Orlando Pirates beat SuperSport United 1-0 – to close the gap to two points in the race for second place – in their DStv Premiership clash at Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening.
Pirates, as predicted started off brighter in the opening stages with most of the possession and SuperSport posing a threat on the counter and set-pieces.
But the back three of Keagan Johannes, Thualni Hlatswhayo and Thatayaone Ditlhokwe also looked rock solid in everything Pirates threw at them in the first half.
It appeared Gavin Hunt’s side would be satisfied with grabbing a point away from home but hoping for one break – something that fell to Zakhele Lepasa.
But the Pirates loanee, who made the final 23-man Bafana Bafana squad to face Liberia next week fluffed his chance to silence the home supporters.
SuperSport were made to sweat a bit more in the second half as Pirates threw more bodies in attack but they looked comfortable with Ricardo Goss hardly forced into any meaningful saves.
Sipho Chaine, however, had a point-blank range effort from Gamphani Lungu to deal with before the 70th-minute mark that nearly won it for the visitors.
But then with ten minutes to go, Pirates were awarded a penalty, which Tapelo Xoki stepped up to slot home with ease past the Bafana keeper and seal a crucial three points.
The victory moves the Buccaneers two points off second-placed SuperSport as the race for CAF Champions League football heats up with seven games to go.