Orlando Pirates moved within a point of third-placed SuperSport United with a crucial 1-0 victory over 10-man Bloemfontein Celtic on Tuesday.
Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer made just one change to his starting eleven, with Kabelo Dlamini coming in for the suspended Thabang Monare and Gabadinho Mhango, Tshegofatso Mabasa and Thabiso Monyane returning from injury to take their place on the bench.
Celtic made three changes as Jackson Mabokgwane, Victor Letsoalo, Ronald Pfumbidzai and Sifiso Ngobeni came into the side. Mbhazima Rikhotso and Cyril Lingwati were suspended.
The first chance of the match fell to Vincent Pule when he cut inside to unleash a shot, but it was deflected out of play.
Dlamini was continuing where he left off against Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup as he dribbled his way past a couple of defenders and struck an effort on his left foot from inside the box which was taken wide by a deflection.
The next opportunity fell Deon Hotto's way as Pule whipped in a good cross to the back post and the Namibian international tried a speculative overhead kick, but it was always going wide.
In first-half stoppage time, Linda Mntambo was caught by a reckless challenge from Ndumiso Mabena, which resulted in Phunya Sele Sele being rightly reduced to ten men just moments before the interval.
Pule was having a stormer and shortly after the break he cut inside from the right onto his left and fizzed an effort which grazed the bottom left-hand corner.
Despite being a man down, Celtic came close to scoring the opener.
Thulani Hlatshwayo allowed the ball to bounce on the right-hand side close to the corner flag with Victor Letsoalo dispossessing him and bringing a fine save out of Bucs keeper Richard Ofori from a tight angle.
And again, they were inches away from breaking the deadlock in the 58th minute. Lucky Baloyi cut inside from the right and played the one-two with Letsoalo which put him through on goal but Ofori narrowed the angle once again and made the save with his legs.
Fortune Makaringe opened the scoring for Pirates in the 62nd minute. The midfielder cut all the way inside from the left-hand touchline to the centre of the goal before firing the ball superbly into Mabokgwane's right-hand corner.
Mabokgwane pulled off an excellent save soon afterwards to keep it at one goal. Paseka Mako played the one-two with Dlamini and went through on goal but Mabokgwane came out well to thwart the danger.
There was a nervy moment at the other end for Pirates, with a deflection directing Baloyi’s stinging shot out for a corner. And then Tebogo Potsane went close to setting up fellow substitute Harris Tchilimbou.
However, the Bucs would hold on for a precious three points.