Orlando Pirates broke their 12 match winless run with a 3-1 hard fought win over minnows EC Bees in a thrilling Nedbank Cup last-32 game at Sisa Dukashe Stadium in Mdantsane yesterday.
But the Premier Soccer League outfit were made to sweat by the ABC Motsepe League team.
The little known “Crazy Gang” showed the former African champions no respect as they took the game to Pirates from the onset.
Pirates had the first shot on target with a sixth-minute Thabo Matlaba volley after Bees failed to deal with a cross, but goalkeeper Eziel Matatela was perfectly positioned and made a routine save.
The combination of Mpho Makola and Dove Wome almost punished the hosts but Wome’s header from the six-yard box went agonisingly wide.
Wome made up for his earlier miss when he tapped into an open net in the 14th minute after Makola’s shot was deflected towards him.
Bernard Morrison almost doubled Pirates’ lead two minutes later after he started the move from his own half and eliminated three players, but Bees were saved by the woodwork as Matatela was beaten.
Pirates controlled the pace of the game well in the midfield with Morrison having a field day against Bees’ left back and captain John Tshabalala.
In a move to try and contain Pirates in the midfield, Bees introduced Simphiwe Dlamini in place of Phikolomzi Kefile.
Makola doubled Pirates’ lead early in the second half with a floated free kick which should have been a routine save for Matatela, but the inexperienced keeper misjudged the ball.
Bees hit back in the 54th minute with a Bongani Chikila strike.
Bees won the ball in the midfield with Chikila racing towards goal before calmly shooting past Siyabonga Mpontshane.
Chikila almost scored his 13th goal of the season from a free kick but Mpontshane pulled off a beautiful save in the 61st minute to deny the former Jomo Cosmos man.
The introduction of Dlamini seemed to give the Eastern Cape outfit control of the game as the lanky midfielder controlled the game well.
Thamsanqa Gabuza restored Pirates’ two-goal lead in the 66th minute when he met a Wome cross.
Thabo Matlaba failed to punish Bees in the 72nd minute when he and Luvuyo Memela went for the same ball after Wome had played in a champagne pass after beautiful counterattack football. Matlaba shot straight at the keeper.
Makola almost scored a second free kick in the 83rd minute but Matatela was perfectly positioned to pull off the best save of the game.
In the other match, Golden Arrows beat Maritzburg United 3-1.