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Purple patch lifts Orlando Pirates to top spot

Orlando Pirates went top of the Absa Premiership after surviving a late Polokwane City rally to win 2-1 Tuesday.

Orlando Pirates's Linda Mntambo battles with his Polokwane City opponent during their Absa Premiership match on 6 November 2018. Picture: @orlandopirates/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Orlando Pirates went top of the Absa Premiership after surviving a late Polokwane City rally to win 2-1 Tuesday.

Brazilian Marcelo da Silva and Zambian Justin Shonga scored in a seven-minute purple patch for the Buccaneers midway through the second half in northern city Polokwane.

Sustained late City pressure yielded a goal from Ayanda Nkili in the final minute of regular time, but Pirates held on to snap a run of six draws between the clubs in all competitions.

Pirates have 22 points, Wits 20, Bloemfontein Celtic and Polokwane 17, SuperSport United 15 and title-holders Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs 14 each in the 12th round.

Chiefs and Sundowns have chances to close the gap behind Pirates when they host Black Leopards and Free State Stars respectively Wednesday.

The match pitted two east European coaches against each other with Slovak Jozef Vukusic guiding Polokwane and Serb Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic controlling Pirates.

"We demonstrated our strength in depth tonight," said Sredojevic, referring to a much-changed side after a League Cup quarter-finals victory three days ago.

"I am particularly happy that Shonga scored as he has faced a lot of criticism lately for some missed chances despite a goal and three assists in his previous three matches."

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