Bernard Morrison marked his first league start for Orlando Pirates in almost a year with his first goal for the club as the Buccaneers won a second game of the new league season by beating Ajax Cape Town 1-0 on Tuesday night and increasing their haul of points to seven out of a possible nine.
Ajax remain winless after their first three games of the season and are second from bottom of the standings with just one.
Thamsanqa Gabuza applied an all-important flick on to a long throw-in to find Morrison unmarked at the back post where he was able to steer it home despite the effort of Ajax goalkeeper Brandon Petersen.
The goal came as early as the ninth minute of a match that reflected a lack of match fitness in both camps in this early stage of the season.
Ghana-born Morrison had been sparingly used last season by the Buccaneers.
He made three starts at the beginning of the season – the last on September 27 last year against Platinum Stars — but then a combination of a loss of form and injury did not offer him another opportunity in a league match until Tuesday night.
Pirates profited from poor making and the early goal allowed much needed confidence into a strangely shaped team, with Thabo Matlaba floating around the midfield and Mpho Makola playing much more central than usual.
Ajax might have had an equaliser within two minutes when Thabo Mosadi picked up an errant ball and launched a counter attack but shot wide of Wayne Sandilands’ goal.
After that Pirates dominated possession as Ajax looked shaky on set pieces. Gabuza should have made it 2-0 in the 27th minute but had his effort blocked as he got the better of the visiting defence.
He also had the ball in the back of the net early in the second half but was rightly ruled offside.
There was also a sharp break with four Pirates players lining up in a row to score with Qalinge having the final shot only to be parried away by Petersen.
Gabuza was again offside, this time much more marginal, in the 70th minute when he again found the net.
Musa Nyatama missed a sitter not long thereafter as Pirates again squandered the opportunity for an insurance goal and they almost paid the price in the last minutes when Tashreeq Morris could have scored twice for the Capetonians.
Sandilands made his only save of the game to deny Morris, who then had a sitter but blasted over the top with his left foot in stoppage time.