ORLANDO Pirates ended their 2012 on a high after they closed the gap to Kaizer Chiefs to one point after they came out 2-0 Absa Premiership victors over Golden Arrows at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
Goals on either side of the break by Daine Klate and Happy Jele were enough to seal the tie.
The opening stages of the game got off to a rather cagey affair, with neither team able to force the goalkeepers into making a save 20 minutes in.
Five minutes later Pirates were awarded a set piece, 30-yards out, and it was Daine Klate who stood over the ball to take it.
He made no error in the set piece when he delivered a curler around the defensive wall, which flew into the back of the net, and left Pavels Steinbos rooted to the spot – still having not touched the ball.
Ritus Krjauklis was the man dealing with most of Pirates’ attacks and he did well to clear a dangerous Sifiso Myeni ball out of the box just after the half hour mark.
Arrows started to increase the pace in the final minutes of the first half when they swung in a dangerous ball into the box and it was pushed out with a one-handed save by Senzo Meyiwa – the goalkeeper confirming his impressive form once again.
Arrows opted to make a change at the start of the second period with Dillon Sheppard replacing Luyolo Mapolisa.
Pirates were still putting Arrows under pressure and it paid off when they added a second goal to their score line.
A well worked 53rd minute corner into the box was met by Happy Jele, who headed it into the back of the net and beat Steinbos at the near post – the goalkeeper was rightly disappointed in not keeping it out.
It could have been 3-0, just four minutes later, when Steinbos and Manyisa went one-on-one in the box, but it was the shot-stopper who came out on top.
Manqoba Mngqithi was quick to use all his substitutions, with his final one coming in the 72nd minute with Thanduyise Khuboni replacing Nhlanhla Zothwane.
Pirates were at ease with their lead and, despite the odd attack from Arrows, they rarely looked as if they were going to concede a goal, with Meyiwa pulling off a punching save off Sheppard’s 82nd minute corner.
Golden Arrows 0
Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Klate 25’, Jele 53’)
Arrows: Steinbors, Zwane, Musonda, Krjauklis, Tom, Hadebe, Nene (Gabuza 64’), Bilankulu, Mapolisa (Sheppard 45’), Ntuli, Zothwane (Khuboni 72’)
Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele, Matlaba, Lekgwathi, Sangweni, Jali (Maholo 89’), Manyisa, Ntshumayelo, Klate, Myeni (Makola 79’), Mbesuma (Chinyama 83’)
In the other results last night Chippa United played to a 1-1 draw against the visiting Mamelodi Sundowns at the ASthlone Stadium with SuperSport United registering a 2-1 victory over Ajax Cape Town at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.
The rest of the results are: Bloemfontein Celtic 1 v Black Leopards 1, Moroka Swallows 2 v Platinum Stars 0 and Free State Stars 1 v BidVest Wits 1-Backpage TXT