Cape Town - Orlando Pirates fought off a spirited Maritzburg United to register a 2-1 win at a wet Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
The early action was lively without providing any clear-cut opportunities and it was from a set-piece that the deadlock was broken when Thabiso Kutumela's sweetly-struck free-kick beat visiting keeper Richard Ofori at his near post.
While Maritzburg were struggling to penetrate the Pirates defence, the home side were close to scoring again eight minutes before half-time when after a free-flowing move, Luvuyo Memela picked out Kutumela in front of goal, but this time Ofori did well to tip the shot over.
The lead was extended two minutes after half-time when Happy Jele rose strongly at the near post to power a header into goal following a Memela corner.
The KZN side had a chance at an equaliser through Brian Onyango, but the Kenyan was unable to make good contact with a Deolin Mekoa cross as the Pirates defence did well to close down the space.
Maritzbug had more chances as Bandile Shandu crashed a 25-yard drive against the upright before William Twala fired into the side-netting.
Mxolisi Kunene then forced a diving save from Bucs stopper Jackson Mabokgwane, who was beaten soon after when Siyanda Xulu powered in a brilliant header from Mekoa's perfectly-flighted free-kick, as the visitors cut the deficit to one.
Pirates had to work hard to close out the game and Maritzburg nearly struck an added time equaliser when Mekoa fired a shot into the upright.