Orlando Pirates boost continental hopes with AmaZulu win
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DURBAN — A stunning 75th minute goal from Gabadinho Mhango earned Orlando Pirates a vital 1-0 win over AmaZulu at Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Thursday evening.
Mhango struck in a brilliant free-kick which gave AmaZulu goalkeeper Veli Mothwa no chance.
Second-place Usuthu who headed into the game on the back of a 1-0 loss to Baroka FC were dealt a major blow within ten minutes as Makhehlene Makhaula picked up an injury and had to be replaced by Butholezwe Ncube.
Both teams lacked cutting-edge in their attack in the first half. The end product in the first half was best exemplified by Mhango's attempt from a corner for Pirates in the 16th minute that ended up failing to trouble AmaZulu keeper Mothwa.
The only other notable passage of play in the first half was in the 38th minute as Thembinkosi Lorch found Mothwa off his line before a deflection allowed the Usuthu keeper to gather.
Veteran Lehlohonolo Majoro came close to breaking the deadlock for AmaZulu in the 55th minute as he met a Thabo Qalinge cross with his head and the effort struck the woodwork.
Pirates keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane made his first save in the 65th minute as he was alert to save a curling shot from Luvuyo Memela.
The result boosts Pirates' chances of securing continental football next season as they are now level on points with third-place Golden Arrows who they trail on goal difference. They are six points behind AmaZulu with three games remaining — against TS Galaxy, Baroka FC, and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.