Cape Town - Orlando Pirates withstood a stiff challenge from rookie side EC Bees before triumphing by a 3-1 score-line in a riveting Nedbank Cup last 32 game at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium on Sunday.
With the stands packed to capacity and the atmosphere electric, the home side made an inspired start with some enterprising football leading to two good chances in the opening six minutes, but both Siyabonga Booi and Qalanto shot off target.
Pirates though, were also looking dangerous in attack and after Thabo Matlaba had a shot saved and Dove Wome went close with a ninth minute header, the Buccaneers took the lead on 14 minutes.
The goal was created by Mpho Makola, who beat three defenders in the box before firing in a low angled shot which was palmed by goalkeeper Eziel Matatela into the path of Wome for a simple tap-in.
Although the home side continued to play some good football despite the setback, it could have been 2-0 to Pirates in the 26th minute when Bernard Morrison's cross found the tireless Thamsanqa Gabuza at the back post, but his header flashed wide.
The Soweto side went on to have plenty of possession but didn't really trouble the Tsolo side's goal and it was the hosts who ended the half with two late opportunities, but neither Bongani Chikile nor Qalanto could find the net with their headers.
With the home side looking up for the challenge, Pirates needed a second goal to give them breathing space and they had it seven minutes after the restart when Makola caught Matatela with a free kick from almost out on the right-hand touchline.
But it took EC Bees just three minutes to get back in the game when the nippy Chikile cut through the heart of the Sea Robbers defence before slotting the ball past Siyabonga Mpontshane with the aid of a deflection off defender Ayanda Gcaba.
Buoyed by their goal, the third tier club piled the pressure on the Pirates defence and Mpontshane had to make a good diving save to prevent Chikile's free kick going in before Qalanto wasted a great chance when he missed the target with a header 25 minutes from time.
But hopes of a comeback were dashed in the 67th minute when Wome picked out Gabuza with a low cross which the striker put into the net with a clinical low finish from 14-yards out.
Issa Sarr nearly got a fourth goal 13 minutes from time when his glancing header struck the upright, but another goal would have been cruel on the home side who played their part in a wonderful afternoon's football in a rainy Mdantsane.