Cape Town - Orlando Pirates overcame a plucky Chippa United outfit 2-1 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday evening.
Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has now won six of his seven games and remains unbeaten since taking charge. Gabadinho Mhango grabbed a brace to take his goal tally to 14 in the league.
The Buccanneers move within nine points of log leaders and arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs having played a game more.
The hosts had the first attempt on goal in the third minute when Augustine Kwem broke into the area and drove a low effort towards goal which Pirates goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands did well hold on to.
Pirates almost took the lead soon afterwards. Fortune Makaringe slipped the ball in to the feet of Mhango in the box, with the Malawian marksman letting the ball run across his body before striking back across goal on his left foot which Chippa goalkeeper Veli Mothwa tipped on to the post and out for a corner.
The Buccanneers won a penalty in the 11th minute when Innocent Maela was brought down in the box by Gregory Damons after being played through. Mhango stepped up and fired the ball down the middle and in to the back of the net.
Then, Thembinkosi Lorch showed great vision when he almost caught Mothwa off his line with an effort from just inside his own half that wasn't far off.
The visitors doubled their lead in the 20th minute. Chippa made a meal of clearing their lines and Abel Mabaso got to the byline down the right-hand side before squaring the ball back in to the box with Mothwa parrying the ball out to Mhango, who took one touch before slotting the ball in to the back of the net from close range.
The Sea Robbers were playing with confidence and were cutting through the Chilli Boys defence like a hot knife through butter with their slick one-touch passing and movement.
The Chilli Boys pulled a goal back on the half-hour mark. Ntsikelelo Nyauza's loose pass was intercepted with the ball being fed in to Kwem, who turned his marker smartly and fired the ball in at Sandilands' near post.
On the stroke of half-time, Mhango turned provider with a through ball for Luvuyo Memela, who was one-on-one with the keeper but could not finish as the keeper guessed the right way.
There was still before the interval for Thembinkosi Lorch to find himself one-on-one with Mothwa but his touch was slightly too heavy and allowed the keeper to come out and dive on the ball.
Chippa coach Norman Mapeza introduced Ruzaiq Gamildien at half-time in place of William Twala and the substitute had two chances in quick succession after coming on as it was the Chilli Boys who were asking all the questions after the break.
Pirates were looking very unsettled and in the 55th minute the Chilli Boys had another big chance when Gamildien crossed towards the back post for Mahola who was in acres of space, but couldn't control the bouncing ball.
On the hour mark, Nyauza's bicycle kick was headed off the line as Chippa survived a scare.
Pirates were definitely not enjoying the dominance they had in the first half and one wouldn't have begrudged Chippa an equaliser, but unfortunately for them it was not to be.