Orlando Pirates are up to seventh on the Absa Premiership standings following a 1-0 win over the University of Pretoria at Tuks Stadium on Saturday evening.
Thabo Matlaba scored the only goal of the game in a tightly contested clash in the capital, the defeat for Tuks, leaves them in 15th place, one point off Jomo Cosmos who lost at Chippa United.
AmaTuks were under the cosh from the onset, with Washington Arubi called into a fine save on two minutes: Thabo Matlaba’s shot deflected off Willem Mwedihanga, but the Tuks goalkeeper was alert, denying the fullback with his feet.
Pirates continued to possess a lot of flair in attack and were unlucky not to open the scoring on 13 minutes. Sifiso Myeni showed great technique to set up Mpho Makola with a beautiful first touch, and the latter’s strike had Washington Arubi beaten, but not the post.
Arubi was proving almost unbeatable and was again at his best to keep out Thamsanqa Gabuza’s towering header four minutes before the break.
The hosts offered little in attack, but did have the ball in the back of the net on the cusp of halftime. Thabo Mnyamane, who has been linked with a move to the Buccaneers, wheeled away in celebration only to see the assistants flag raised for offside.
If Tuks were going to score, Mnyamane would be their man and the former Varsity Cup striker proved a constant threat, his free-kick on the hour blazing just over Brighton Mhlongo’s crossbar.
Having almost conceded, Pirates finally found the opener through Matlaba in the 70th minute. Uganda national Yassar Mugerwa picked out the Bafana Bafana fullback, who found the back of the net from an acute angle.
The goal served as a double blow for the hosts, with Mwedihanga forced off the field with what looked a serious head injury.
Lennox Bacela had a late chance to score against his former employers, but scuffed his effort as Shaun Bartlett remains without a win as Tuks head coach.