Orlando Pirates eased the pressure on under-fire coach Eric Tinkler with a 2-0 win over University of Pretoria in an Absa Premiership match at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Thabo Matlaba scored a superbly-taken goal early in the second half before Sifiso Myeni added a second late on to hand the Buccaneers just their fourth league victory in 13 games and lift them to 10th place on the log table.
AmaTuks, meanwhile, missed out on the chance to move out of the relegation zone and remain second from bottom on nine points from 13 matches. The defeat was their eighth of the league season.
Pirates created a couple of early chances for Kermit Erasmus and Issa Sarr – neither of which they were able to capitalise on – but the first clear opportunity went the way of former Bucs player Lennox Bacela, who shot straight at Brighton Mhlongo after cutting inside from the left.
Midway through the first half the Soweto side almost claimed the lead through Erasmus, who arrived the near post to turn a cross on target but was denied by a sharp reaction save from goalkeeper Washington Arubi.
Just a minute later Pirates needed Mhlongo to make an excellent double save, denying Bacela and Thabo Mnyamane in quick succession, while on 35 minutes the young ‘keeper again saved his team by touching the latter attacker’s long-range shot onto the post.
Tuks’ missed opportunities in the first half came back to haunt them early in the second, with Thabo Matlaba breaking the deadlock in the 47th minute to put Bucs 1-0 up. The overlapping left-back ran onto a perfectly-weighted pass from Erasmus and fired the ball into the back of the net via the underside of the crossbar, giving Arubi no chance of making a save.
The goal gave Pirates the confidence to go on and dominate the game, but they spurned several good opportunities to add to their advantage, with the best seeing Erasmus fluff a shot at close range after he had been well picked out from the by-line by Thabo Rakhale in the 67th minute.
The hosts finally wrapped up the game in the 85th minute when Sifiso Myeni arrived late in the box to fire home a loose ball after Tuks’ defence failed to clear a dangerous cross from another overlap by Matlaba.