JOHANNESBURG _ Orlando Pirates claimed a much-needed 1-0 victory against Bloemfontein Celtic in Soweto on Saturday night.
A goal from Mpho Makola handed the Sea Robbers all three points in a game that was marred by fan violence in the stands.
Both teams started conservatively at the Orlando Stadium.
The first clear cut chance of the game fell to the visitors on the half-hour mark with forward Fiston Abdul Razak shooting across goal after a good ball over the top of the Pirates defence from Wandisile Letlabika.
Pirates had to wait until the 38th minute for their first real chance of the game. A defensive error from Tshepo Rikhotso allowed Lehlohonolo Majoro a golden opportunity. but the Bafana Bafana hitman blazed his shot over the bar.
Makola spurned a great chance to take the lead with seconds to go before half-time. A good pass from Thabo Rakhale put him through on goal, but Celtic goalkeeper Patrick Tignyemb was wise to the chance and produced a great save.
A minute after the break, the deadlock was broken when Majoro was fouled just outside the box to give Pirates a setpiece opportunity in good range. Up stepped freekick specialist Makola, who got a touch of good fortune as his strike was deflected in off Bevan Fransman who was left hapless in the Celtic wall.
— DOZO_KING (@King_Phex) February 27, 2016
Mpho Makola is Pirates leading scorer in every competition he has scored 7 followed by Rakhale with 6
— Tshepo S S (@FootballTshepo) February 27, 2016
The game suddenly came to life as both teams started to play some enterprising football. The men from Bloemfontein came close to equalising in the 59th minute, but Thapelo Morena’s effort struck the upright following a good lay-off by the lively Musa Nyatama.
Celtic then battled to break down the Pirates defence with midfielders, Issa Sarr and man of the match Edwin Gyimah bossing the midfield.
In the end Eric Tinkler’s men held on for a vital win that moved them to sixth position on the log.
“They made it extremely difficult for us. They had a lot more better moments than us,” Tinkler said.
“In the second half there was a slight improvement. It was a good freekick. They came at us but we managed to hold on.”
Celtic coach, Serame Letsoaka added: “At the end of day they get a freekick and score. The story continues and we just cant get the ball in the back of the net.”
Letsoaka: "We have 9 games to go & we are going to fight for every point available. The league is tight where a win can take you 3 spots up
— Orlando Pirates FC (@Orlando_Pirates) February 27, 2016