Johannesburg - A stunning 30-metre thunderbolt from captain Lucky Lekgwathi in injury time lifted Orlando Pirates to a critical 2-1 win over SuperSport United in their Premiership match at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Tuesday evening.
With the top spot on the Premiership table on the line, it was the hosts SuperSport who came out showing better attacking intent and creativity, but ultimately it was the killer instinct of the defending champions which won them the match they failed to dominate.
Pirates took the lead in the 29th minute with a Tokelo Rantie goal.
The hosts equalised in the 61st minute through Sameehg Doutie before Lekgwathi stole the win for his side in the last moments of the encounter.
The result meant SuperSport occupied the third position while Pirates edged ahead into the top spot on 52 points.
Mamelodi Sundowns, on 49 points, have a game in hand and are away to Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Wednesday night.
SuperSport coach Gavin Hunt's words came back to haunt him, as his side failed to take their chances in front of goal.
After his team's 2-1 win over Kaizer Chiefs on the weekend, the coach had said taking their chances had won them the game.
That was not the case against Pirates as SuperSport dominated play and created good opportunities to score, but lacked good finishing.
In the first half, SuperSport started stronger and created good scoring chances from the first whistle.
In the fourth minute, SuperSport were awarded a free kick just outside the box for a foul on Franklin Cale by Rooi Mahamutsa with replays suggesting little contact by the Pirates defender.
Cale stepped up to take the shot and could not avoid Benni McCarthy who deflected the ball out for a corner.
Three minutes later, Cale was involved again s he poached the ball off the Pirates' defence. With a twirling run and a well-struck shot, he forced a good save from Moeneeb Josephs in the visitors' goal.
The resulting corner produced a near-goal as Lekgwathi's attempted headed clearance struck his own crossbar before the ball was cleared.
The first goal of the match came against the run of play in the 29th minute, as the defending champions showed clinical finishing. The SuperSport defence was caught out when Rantie produced a composed strike into the roof of the net after a pinpoint cross from Tlou Segolela to make it 1-0 the visitors.
Segolela wasted a good chance to make it 2-0 in the 49th minute when he found the ball at his feet in the SuperSport box, but his first touch let him down as the defence was given time to catch up with the Pirates player and clear the ball.
SuperSport thought they had equalised in the 56th minute when Cale had the ball in the back of the net, but it was disallowed as the player received the ball in a offside position.
Five minutes later, the scores were indeed levelled when Doutie scored a wonder goal against his former club. From a free kick near the left corner flag, his shot had the beating of all the Pirates' defenders as it swung into the far right corner of the net to make it 1-1.
In the 70th minute, McCarthy had his first real look at goal, but his left-footed attempt from the edge of the area was well-covered by Rowen Fernandez in the SuperSport goal.
Five minutes later, the home side were reduced to 10 men when Edwin Gyimah was red-carded and SuperSport were forced onto the back foot for the last 15 minutes of the match. - Sapa