Orlando Pirates did not control all of their Absa Premiership encounter against Cape Town City, but finished the match strongly enough to have felt they deserved their 1-0 victory at FNB Stadium on Tuesday night.
Bucs coach Milutin Sredojevic read the game well, and his substitutions worked for him.
Thabiso Kutumela and Lyle Foster’s second-half introductions brought an injection of pace to Pirates’ pressing and counter-attacks.
It seemed telling that both played a role in the exquisite counter that led to Thabo Qalinge’s 82nd-minute lone goal of the match.
City have notched some impressive victories playing poaching football, which was the ultimate hallmark of coach Benni McCarthy’s career as a striker.
They had chances to sneak in and nab a win last night.
In the 32nd, perhaps City should have taken the lead.
After a clever build-up down the right, Lyle Lakay’s cross was low, with Lehlohonolo Majoro seeming to win the ball at the near post out of Sandilands’s hands. Referee Khulasande Qongco blew for a foul.
Ultimately, Pirates contained their visitors, then found the key to unlock them. The quality of Pirates’s attacks out of their area had looked increasingly impressive and when they scored, it was fully deserved.
In a sweeping counter, Innocent Maela won the ball well within his half, fed Qalinge, who found Kutumela, who released Foster down the right.
The 17-year-old crossed, picking out the run of Qalinge unmarked at the far post, the nippy winger scrambling over his second of the season.
• SuperSport United missed out on a morale-boosting victory ahead of Saturday’s African Confederation Cup encounter in Zambia as they let a lead slip and were held 1-1 at home by Chippa United in the Absa Premiership on Tuesday.
Chippa will be much the happier with the result as new caretaker coach Teboho Moloi secured a second successive draw since taking over from sacked Dan Malesela.
SuperSport, held goalless at home by Zesco United in the first leg on Friday, must now pick themselves up for the second leg in Ndola on the weekend where they have their backs to the wall after failing to score at home.
Coach Eric Tinkler rested regulars like Clayton Daniels, Bradley Grobler and Reneilwe Letsholonyane and gave a full debut to exciting young midfielder Sipho Mbule, as the coach tinkered with the team ahead of the second leg of their quarter-final tie against Zesco United in Ndola.
It made no real difference to the home side’s dominance at the start of the game against the struggling outfit from Port Elizabeth as Kingstone Nkhatha and Morgan Gould might have scored first before Siyabonga Nhlapo put SuperSport in the lead in the 28th minute.
A corner was cleared straight to Nhlapo in the penalty area and he hammered it home on the full volley for his first goal in five years.
Chippa came out of their shells and dominated the second half with the confidence from the goal, but neither side were able to create any decent chances.
Chippa, who drew 0-0 at Platinum Stars on Saturday, were largely on the back foot, but when Mbule lost possession in the middle in the last minute of the first half, they quickly set about the counter attack with Kurt Lentjies delivering the cross, Mpho Mvelase heading the ball back to Moeketsi Sekola whose shot took a deflection on the way into the net.
Chippa came out of their shells and dominated the second half with the confidence from the goal but neither
side were able to create any decent chances.
• Free State Stars defeated Polokwane City 3-2 at the Old Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday night.