A brace by Kwame Peprah saw Orlando Pirates end 2021 on a high after they secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory over AmaZulu in the DStv Premiership at the Orlando Stadium on Thursday evening.
Usuthu got off to the perfect start and broke the deadlock four minutes into the game as Luvuyo Memela found the back of the net with a superb left-footed strike to make it 1-0.
The Buccaneers had a chance to level matters in the 15th minute but Deon Hotto fired his right-footed shot high and wide of the target.
Pirates were then dealt a major blow in the 27th minute as they were forced to bring on Abel Mabaso to replace Kwanda Mngonyama, who picked up an injury.
The Soweto giants eventually levelled matters in the 36th minute when Kwame Peprah bagged his third goal in two games with a close-range finish to make t 1-1.
Peprah had a chance to complete his brace and give Pirates the lead on the stroke of half time but the in-form attacker fired his effort wide of the target as the game went into the half time break locked at 1-1.
Pirates opted to make their first substitution at the start of the second half as Makhubela made way for Fortune Makaringe, but it was AmaZulu who showed their intent early on as Memela fired his effort wayward.
Peprah eventually completed his brace in the 48th minute with a neat finish into the far corner after he was set up by a superb ball from Mosele.
The Sea Robbers continued to dominate possession of the ball and continued to apply pressure on AmaZulu after the hour mark, keeping the visitors in their own half.
The home side opted to make another two substitutions in the 67th minute as Thulani Hlatshwayo came in for Bandile Shandu, while Terrence Dzvukamanja was brought on for Thembinkosi Lorch.
Dzvukamanja nearly made an instant impact and should have found the back of the net in the 71st minute but fired his shot against the post after being played in by Makaringe.
The Buccaneers rang more chances in the 82nd minute as goalscorer Peprah was taken off and replaced by Zakhele Lepasa, who nearly made an instant impact but fired his effort wide of goal as they held on to secure all three points at home.