PORT ELIZABETH – Orlando Pirates held off a sustained period of late pressure at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday night to earn a 1-0 league win over Chippa United.

After an own goal from Gladwin Shitolo had cost the Sea Robbers all three points in last weekend's 1-1 draw with Highlands Park, the Soweto side were on the receiving end of a mistake at the back this time around when Gerald Modisane stuck the ball into his own net after 15 minutes in Port Elizabeth.

Following a tight start to the game - with little space or time for either side, Bucs took the lead when Justin Shonga's thumping free-kick smashed into the woodwork before Chippa defender Modisane deflected the rebound back into his own net.

Bucs continued to probe for openings, especially down the right flank through full-back Mthokozisi Dube but failed to create any more chances on goal. At the other end, there was a rare opportunity for Chippa when Boikanyo Komane's long-range effort six minutes before the interval sailed just over the bar with Pirates keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane back-pedaling, in what proved to be the last opportunity of a half in which there was little to separate the sides, apart from the goal.

Mpontshane, brought in for Wayne Sandilands after his blunder on Saturday, did have some work to do a minute after the break when he made a comfortable save from a Daine Klate free kick, while shortly after at the other end, Paseka Mako came close to scoring from a goalmouth scramble.

The game now opening up, the Sea Robbers had two chances in quick succession as Mpho Makola drew a save from a tight angle by Chilli Boys keeper Daniel Akpeyi before Shonga's header flashed over the bar.

While a second Pirates goal had looked on the cards, the complexion of the game was changed dramatically when Dube was sent off for a second yellow card with 20 minutes to go, which allowed the home side to come storming back into the game. Suddenly the chances started to rain in for Chippa as Kurt Lentjies had two efforts on goal, one wide and one saved by Mpontshane, while Klate was close to connecting with a close-range volley.

More was to follow from Dan Malesela's men as Klate missed with another volley before Frederic Nsabiyumva was unable to beat Mpontshane from close range with a headed effort seven minutes from time.  Ruzaigh Gamildien also came close for Chippa, but some resolute defending at the back saw Milutin Sredojevic's team through five minutes of added time as they went on to claim their first win of the season.  

African News Agency (ANA)

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