Orlando Pirates' struggles continued as they lost 1-0 to 10-men Cape Town City in the Premier Soccer League on Sunday afternoon at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, with Kermit Erasmus scoring the only goal of the game.
The former Pirates hitman broke the deadlock in the 47th minute to hand the Mother City outfit a 1-0 lead at half -time, and the Soweto giants failed to equalise despite having a man advantage following the sending off of Mpho Makola during the first half.
After a bright start in the capital, City grabbed the winner in first-half stoppage time through Erasmus, and the former MTN8 champions now occupy seventh with 36 points, whilst the former African champions are fifth on 43.
Pirates started the encounter without out-of-sorts Gabadinho Mhango and midfielder Fortune Makaringe, who gave way for the likes of Nkanyiso Zungu, Thembinkosi Lorch and James Monyane.
The 2018/19 PSL runners-up were looking to bag their first victory since the current season was restarted due to the coronavirus pandemic, having drawn their previous games against Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits and to Baroka.
Citizens came into this one fresh from a 1-0 loss against Stellenbosch but had secured two wins over Mamelodi Sundowns and Chippa United prior to the defeat by Stellies.
Coming to the tightly contested encounter, the Buccaneers had an upper hand in the opening stages of the clash when Vincent Pule took matters into his own hands to provide for striker Tshegofatso Mabasa, but the target man failed to hit the back of the net as his effort went wide in the 10th minute.
Five minutes later, goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands had to come off his line to punch away an outswinger, and Zungu blocked Erasmus's resulting effort before Happy Jele cleared the ball.
In the 32nd minute, former Pirates midfielder Makola was shown his marching orders after a number of dangerous tackles on Monyane and Lorch, reducing the Citizens to 10 men.
Three minutes before the interval, skipper Jele saw his header go agonizingly wide following a brilliant corner from Pule’s left foot.
The referee added four minutes and that gave coach Jan Olde Riekerink’s men the opportunity to break the deadlock, as Erasmus got onto the end of the cross to beat Sandilands from close range at the far post.
Coach Josef Zinnbauer made changes in his line-up as he introduced Luvuyo Memela for Mabasa, while injured Pule was sacrificed for Mhango.
Towards the final 10 minutes of the match, Riekerink rested Erasmus and brought on Fagrie Lakay to speed up their attack as they looked to consolidate their lead.
On the opposite side of the field, substitute Kabelo Dlamini played in Memela who took a shot on the run, although his effort was blocked by Peter Leeuwenburgh in the 84th minute.
In the end, City managed to protect their lead and walked away with the full three points, leaving Pirates winless out of four PSL matches.