Orlando Pirates snatched a 1-0 win over their Soweto rivals, Swallows FC, in a 2021/22 DStv Premiership match at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
The matchday three result moved the Buccaneers to the top of the league standings, while the Beautiful Birds are placed 10th on the log.
Swallows were looking to take the initiative and impose themselves in the opening exchanges, and they were not allowing the Buccaneers to get into their rhythm on the occasion of Happy Jele’s 400th appearance for the club.
Dillon Solomons played a low cross across the face of goal with the Pirates defence exposed, but an unmarked Monnapule Saleng was just inches away from getting onto the end of the ball.
Pirates then took control of the match as the game progressed, but they were struggling to create clear chances with the Swallows defence looking calm and resolute.
The hosts were reduced to long-range efforts with Vincent Pule unleashing a curling shot that flew over the crossbar without troubling Sanele Tshabalala in the visitors’ goal-posts.
The score was 0-0 at the interval following an evenly contested first-half in Soweto.
Having scored twice in Swallows’ win over Pirates in the MTN8 last month, Ruzaigh Gamildien forced keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane into a save as the visitors began the second-half brightly.
Pirates technical team introduced attackers Tshegofatso Mabasa and Terence Dzvukamanja a minute before the hour-mark as the hosts looked to take the lead and the move paid off.
Pule delivered a great cross which was headed home by Mabasa, whose header beat Tshabalala hands down to make it 1-0 to Pirates in the 78th minute.
Swallows coach Brandon Truter made a double substitution as he introduced Kabelo Malinga and Mbulelo Wambi, who scored a late winning goal against Royal AM last month.
It was Malinga, who came close to scoring in stoppage time when his header was fantastically saved by Mpontshane, and ultimately, Pirates ran out 1-0 winners on the day.
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Mabasa 78′)Swallows FC (0) 0TEAMS
Orlando Pirates:Mpontshane, Jele, Hlatshwayo, Mako, Shandu, Mabaso, Mosele, Makhubela (Ndah 85′), Pule (Motshwari 85′), Dlamini (Dzvukamanja 59′), Hotto (Mabasa 59′).
Swallows FC: Tshabalala, Sasman, Sait, Sibiya, Matlou, Mere, Nyatama (Khupe 70′), Mokoena (Wambi 84′), Solomons (Ndlovu 58′), Gamildien (Malinga 82′), Saleng (Makgalwa 58′).© Backpage TXT