Buccaneers climb to Premiership summit
Orlando Pirates went two points clear at the top of the Premiership table after recording a 2-1 win over Polokwane City at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday.
Milutin Sredojevic's side were fortunate to go into the break at level pegging after making a slow start in Limpopo, but second-half goals from Marcelo and Justin Shonga extended their unbeaten run in the league to eight games.
Late pressure from Rise and Shine resulted in a goal for Ayanda Nkili, but Pirates held on to leapfrog Bidvest Wits into top spot.
Polokwane made the better start and Rodney Ramagalela tested Jackson Mabokgwane after just two minutes with a left-footed shot from 22 yards out on the right.
They continued to put Orlando Pirates under early pressure and a free-kick from the right led to another save from Mabokgwane on 13 minutes after the ball bounced around in the six-yard box.
Nkili wasn't able to hit the target with a header at the back post from a free-kick on the left in the 26th minute, while Bongile Booi couldn't get enough curl on his left-footed shot from outside the area on the right moments later.
Ramagalela then drew a routine save out of Mabokgwane on the half-hour mark with a header from 14 yards out after getting on the end of Vusimuzi Mngomezulu's cross on the left.
But the Buccaneers managed to get a foothold in the game and finished the half strongly, with Shonga curling an effort wide of the left post from Asavela Mbekile's cutback on the right in the 34th minute.
The Zambian forward went close again a minute later with a dipping strike from 22 yards out that just cleared the crossbar, before George Chigova comfortably claimed his looping header on 37 minutes.
Shonga failed to test Chigova with his next chance two minutes before half-time as he sliced a volley high and wide of the near post from just inside the area on the left.
Pirates were indebted to Mabokgwane for keeping them in the game on 49 minutes with a superb one-handed save to tip Mngomezulu's swerving strike around the right post.
It proved crucial as the Soweto giants broke the deadlock 10 minutes later. Chigova did well to get a glove onto Marshall Munetsi's volley, but Marcelo was on hand to head home the rebound from close range.
A swift counter-attack from the visitors on 61 minutes presented Thembinkosi Lorch with a great chance to double their lead after he was played in by Thabiso Kutumela, but Chigova turned his shot wide of the right post.
However, the second goal wasn't long in coming as Shonga caught out Chigova at his near post with a low free-kick from 20 yards out on the right in the 66th minute.
The hosts looked to stage a late fightback and Sibusiso Mbonani threatened with a header at the near post that flashed across the face of goal from a 79th-minute corner, before Puleng Tlolane drew a smart save out of Mabokgwane with a strike from 19 yards out after Munetsi presented the ball straight to him on 88 minutes.
Mbonani glanced a header wide of the left post from the resulting corner in a carbon copy of his previous attempt, but Rise and Shine finally got their reward at the death when Mabokgwane could only get fingertips on Nkili's powerful header which went in off the bar.