Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates recovered from last weekend’s Nedbank Cup defeat to Free State Stars, beating the visitors 3-1 in their Premiership match at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night.
Benni McCarthy and Tokelo Rantie scored for the defending champions while Edward Manqele scored for Stars.
Ranti opened the scoring in the 2nd minute for the Buccaneers out of individual brilliance which saw him run at the Stars defence before blasting the ball to the back of the net.
Stars’ real chance to level matters in the first stanza fell to Mzikayise Mashaba in the 26th minute but his shot flew wide off the left upright to the relief of Pirates goalkeeper Moneeb Josephs.
Rantie whose pace proved to be a handful for the Stars defence nearly got his second of the night in the 31st minute but was brought down inside the box but referee Zolile Mthetho turned down penalty shouts from Pirates.
Pirates coach Augusto Palacios was forced to make a substitution in the 39th minute, replacing injured defender Rooi Mahamutsa with Lizo Mjepu.
Stars resumed the second half like a house on fire and their constant raids in the Bucs half paid dividends in the 49th minute, Dove Wome setting up Manqele for his 11th goal of the season.
The goal seemed to spark a new sense of belief in Steve Komphela’s men and forced Palacious to make a tactical change, bringing Tlou Segolela on for Bester.
Ranti was at it again in the 58th minute harassing the Stars defence and was hacked down by Ouro Sadate inside the box.
This time referee Mthetho awarded the spot kick subsequently booking the defender and McCarthy beat goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene to give Pirates a 2-1 lead.
Manqele was back again to haunt Pirates but his powerful strike inside the box was blocked by the diving Josephs to deny the league’s top scorer his second of the night in the 65th minute.
McCarthy’s class was on display in 78th minute as he set up Rantie who made no mistake putting Pirates 3-1 ahead with a well taken shot.
The win sees Pirates remain second on the table, two points behind log-leaders Sundowns who played to a goalless draw against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Botshabelo Stadium.