Result: Orlando Pirates 3-1 Bloemfontein Celtic
Date: 03 August 2019
Venue: Orlando Stadium
Orlando Pirates got their Absa Premiership title pursuit off to a winning start with a 3-1 victory over Bloemfontein Celtic at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
Click through the gallery to see images from Pirates' win over Celtic.
While none of the new signings made the Pirates starting line-up, there was a debut for young defender Thabiso Monyane alongside Alfred Ndengane.
Pirates took the lead in the fifth minute. Musa Nyatama played a through ball to release Augustine Mulenga clear on goal, who slotted the ball calmly past the goalkeeper.
The Buccaneers came close to doubling their lead in the 20th minute after a neat chip to the near post found Luvuyo Memela, but he headed just wide.
Alfred Ndengane came to the home side's rescue soon afterwards, making a good block to deny Celtic from a corner. The visitors were making inroads, but lacked the necessary penetration.
Phunya Sele Sele finally found the killer touch to equalise in the 39th minute. A looping pass over the top forced Wayne Sandilands to come off his line, but Mzwanele Mahashe got there before the Pirates shot-stopper to head in to the net.
Celtic were having their hands full trying to deal with wave after wave of attack from Pirates, who retook the lead in the 55th minute. Mulenga whipped in a corner from the right-hand side and Innocent Maela found himself completely unmarked in the box before heading home.
Phunya Sele Sele were trying their utmost to get back in to the game and Tebogo Potsane tried his luck from range in the 70th minute and although he connected well with his strike, it was straight at Sandilands.
In the 75th minute, Menzi Masuku played Ronald Pfumbidzai in to space in the box, who let fly with a left-footed effort towards the bottom left-hand corner, which was brilliantly turned around the post by Sandilands.
The Sea Robbers managed to withstand a lot of pressure from Celtic and go up the other end to deliver a sucker-punch. Vincent Pule flicked on a long ball in to the path of debutant Gabadinho Mhango, who was one-on-one with the keeper and fired the ball in to the back of the net in the 75th minute.
Masuku then came close twice in quick succession, first with a stinging long-range drive that skimmed the crossbar and then with a snapshot which brought another good save out of Sandilands diving to his right. Having had to weather a late onslaught from Celtic, the Soweto giants claimed the three points.
Here's how they lined up:
Pirates: 30. Sandilands, 4. Jele, 27. Ndengane, 34. Monyane, 23. Maela, 6. Motshwari, 14. Nyatama, 45. Pule, 11. Memela, 12. Shonga, 17. Mulenga.
Subs: 40. Mpontshane, 19. Chabalala, 2. Mbekile, 15. Makaringe, 18. Dlamini, 7. Mhango, 8. Ndlovu.
Celtic: 31. Chaine, 22. Rikhotso, 5. Letlabika, 2. Tani, 15. Pfumbidzai, 35. Baloyi, 8. Phalane, 12. Maema, 7. Maloisane, 50. Masuku, 10. Mabena.
Subs: 16. Mabokgwane, 34. Fikizolo, 20. De Jongh, 17. Ndou, 18. Mashikinya, 11. Potsane, 3. Mahashe.