A solitary goal from Vincent Pule helped Orlando Pirates bag their fifth consecutive win in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) when they beat AmaZulu 1-0 on Saturday evening at Orlando Stadium.
Fresh from a win over Highlands Park in their previous match in the league, the Soweto giants were chasing another win under the guidance of German manager, Josef Zinnbauer.
On the part of Usuthu, coach Jozef Vukusic’s men were looking to erase their loss to Maritzburg United in the KwaZulu-Natal derby last Friday.
In the opening 10 minutes, the hosts started the encounter with an attack from a corner kick and Luvuyo Memela combined well with Thembinkosi Lorch to win a free-kick down the right-wing but the former’s in-swinging delivery was collected by goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha.
In the 28th minute, the visitors prompted the Buccaneers into defensive mode and this delivery into the box fell on Siyethemba Sithebe’s path but he side-footed his effort towards goal. Keeper Wayne Sandilands managed to swallow the effort with a comfortable save.
Vincent Pule had a bright start into the clash and nearly found the back of the net in the 37th minute when his curler shaved Mbatha’s upright, it was a good technique by the left-footed player following a run from Lorch’s great pass.
On the stroke of half-time, the Durban-based club came close to silencing the crowd when Siyabonga Magubane found himself in a pocket of space outside the Buccaneers' box and fired a shot at goal yet nothing came out of it as it could not trouble Sandilands.
There were no goals in the opening half but the hosts had a slow start coming from the tunnel.
A pacey Gabadinho Mhango managed to beat the offside trap and laid a flat pass across the Usuthu area, but there were no Pirates players to finish the opportunity as it went begging, passing Lorch and Memela.
However, the KwaZulu-Natal outfit would finally crack in the 52nd minute when Lorch picked up Pule into the area and the winger managed to easily tap his effort to break the deadlock.
Although the hosts would show a lapse of concentration in the second stanza, they continued to probe for their second goal in the encounter but Mbatha was equal to the task to deny Bonginkosi Ntuli in the 86th minute who outpaced the hosts' defence.
In the wake of the win, the 2018/19 PSL runners-up now move to fourth spot with 33 points from 19 matches whilst Usuthu are demoted to the bottom of the table with 17 points from 20 games.