Result: Orlando Pirates 1-0 AmaZulu
Date: 25 January 2020
Venue: Orlando Stadium
Orlando Pirates claimed a fourth straight Absa Premiership victory after defeating AmaZulu 1-0 at Orlando Stadium on Saturday evening.
Alfred Ndengane earned re-call to the Buccaneers defence after making substitute appearances in the last two games, while Josef Zinnbauer kept faith his dynamic front trio of Gabadinho Mhango, Thembinkosi Lorch and Luvuyo Memela.
The home side dominated from the onset but had to wait until the 18th minute for major opening when Vincent Pule was slipped through on goal, but Usuthu shot-stopper Siyabonga Mbatha produced a superb save to deny the winger.
While Usuthu have been reliant on Bonginkosi Ntuli all season, it was Siyethemba Sithebe who went close to breaking the deadlock in the 27th minute but Wayne Sandilands was on hand to deny the attacking midfielder.
It was all Pirates after that, with Vincent Pule going close with a couple efforts from distance although the Usuthu were struggling to coach with the home side's pace down the flanks.
Pirates eventually got the opening goal eight minutes after the break as Pule ran between two AmaZulu defenders to turn home Lorch's cross from the right.
The hosts went in search of more goals thereafter but they were met by a solid Mbatha, who produced a few vital stops to keep out the likes of Lorch and Fortune Makaringe.
Pirates were dealt a blow with 16 minutes remaining as Bongani Sam was stretchered off with an injury and replaced by Paseka Mako, while Usuthu coach Jozef Vukusic introduced Talent Chawaphiwa moments later.
Mbatha was the only reason Usuthu still stood a chance of getting a result after the shot-stopper produced another fine save to keep out Mhango's glancing header.
In the end, Usuthu were unable to find a way past the Buccaneers defence as Zinnbauer extends his unbeaten record to six matches since taking over from Rhulani Mokoena.
Here's how they lined up:
Pirates: 30. Sandilands, 27. Ndengane, 4. Jele, 19. Sam, 28. Dube, 6. Motshwari, 15. Makaringe, 45. Pule, 3. Lorch, 11. Memela, 7. Mhango.
Subs: 1. Delle, 8. Ndlovu, 29. Mako, 32. Mntambo, 34. Monyane, 17. Mulenga, 16. Mabasa.
AmaZulu: 28. Mbatha, 33. Darpoh, 29. Mabiliso, 18. Booysen, 27. Xoki, 6. Ncube, 10. Sithebe, 34. Maduna, 2. Magubane, 31. Lacny, 7. Ntuli.
Subs: 43. Boshoff, 36. Khumalo, 4. Morton, 50. Vilakazi, 19. Chawaphiwa, 12. Magaqa, 20. Majoro.