Cape Town - Orlando Pirates closed out their ABSA Premiership campaign on a winning note after beating Free State Stars 2-1 at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
The hosts enjoyed the better exchanges in the first half and took a deserved 1-0 lead into the break, courtesy of Ntsikelelo Nyauza's 23rd-minute opener.
A defensive mistake early in the second half threatened to undo all their good work when Nhlanhla Vilakazi equalised for Ea Lla Koto, but Thamsanqa Gabuza popped up at the death to snatch all three points for the runners-up in the league.
Pirates were looking to send the Ghost home happy on the final day after slipping up against Cape Town City in their penultimate match of the campaign.
They made the better start in Soweto and Xola Mlambo threatened with a header at the back post that he could only direct straight at Thela Ngobeni.
But the home fans were celebrating the opener midway through the first half when Nyauza rose highest at a corner to head past Ngobeni.
The Buccaneers created further chances as Augustine Mulenga drew a comfortable save out of Ngobeni with a looping shot from the edge of the box, before Justin Shonga fired wide of the target from close range nine minutes before the break.
Pirates keeper Wayne Sandilands was largely a spectator in the opening 45 minutes, with Stars' best chance seeing Siphelele Mthembu steer a header well over the crossbar from Patrick Phungwayo's cross.
Luc Eymael's men were let back into the contest just six minutes after the restart, though, when sloppy defending allowed Vilakazi to fire past Sandilands.
Stars had their tails up after equalising and Goodman Dlamini went close to giving them the lead on 64 minutes, but Sandilands was equal to the task as he saved the midfielder's effort.
The visitors suffered a setback 20 minutes from time when Ngobeni was forced off through injury, with Badra Ali Sangare taking his place in goal.
Bucs, meanwhile, had introduced Gabuza from the bench and the substitute made an almost immediate impact as he scored on the rebound four minutes from time after Sangare could only parry Shonga's initial strike.