Sunday, 18 April 2021 20:55

Staff Reporter.

Orlando Pirates climbed to fourth spot in the DStv Premiership with a 2-0 victory over Maritzburg United on Sunday night at Orlando Stadium.

Pirates were without the suspended Thulani Hlatshwayo for this game, and with Happy Jele also on the sidelines Ntsikelelo Nyauza captained the team against United.

Josef Zinnbauer, meanwhile, handed a first ever DStv Premiership start to 20 year old right back Thabiso Sesane, while Abel Mabaso got his first league start of the season alongside Nyauza in a makeshift Buccaneers back four.

And Maritzburg ran Pirates ragged in the opening stages. In the 7th minute, Bandile Shandu overlapped down the right wing and crossed for Daylon Claasen, but he fired wide.

Thabiso Kutumela then burst through the middle against his former side, but his shot was saved by Wayne Sandilands.

Deon Hotto should have given Pirates the lead seven minutes before the break after latching onto a long through ball by Sesane, but the Namibian was denied by goalkeeper Marcel Engelhardt before the winger squandered another opening moments later.

Vincent Pule replaced Ben Motshwari at halftime, as Tshefofatso Mabasa had a brilliant chance to break deadlock four minutes inside the second stanza after a cut-back by Hotto but his first-time strike sailed over the bar.

Pule finally made it 1-0 for the Buccaneers on the hour-mark with a close-range finish into a gaping net at the back post after a looping square pass by Fortune Makaringe.

Maritzburg should have drawn level on 71 minutes through Bongokuhle Hlongwane, who shot over the target from close range after a Ryan Rae long throw-in had caused all kinds of strife in the Pirates penalty area.

Pule doubled the lead for Pirates in the last 12 minutes after Engelhardt misjudged the flight of a long ball from Sandilands, which allowed the Pirates winger to head into an empty net.

The teams will return to DStv Premiership action next weekend, with Maritzburg at home to Baroka FC on Friday, 23 April and Pirates away to Soweto rivals Swallows FC on Saturday, 24 April.