Kaizer Chiefs striker Samir Nurkovic celebrating his goal against Orlando Pirates (Gallo Images)
It was set up to be an exhilarating encounter but the 100th Soweto derby was a match of two halves.
The first league Soweto derby took place in 1971, 50 years ago, and in this one, Orlando Pirates were targeting a fourth win over Kaizer Chiefs this season.
It was also the first league derby happening on a Sunday since 1994 but the first 45 minutes was a dull affair with plenty of ball possession for the Buccaneers as Chiefs failed to make the most their goal threatening chances.
23-year-old Happy Mashiane was involved in the first serious goal threat of the match as he burst down the right flank and teased in a low cross which was badly dealt with by the Pirates defence. Amakhosi captain Bernard Parker latched on to the ball from 30 yards out and confidently attempted a strike at goal which flew over the crossbarat pace.
Despite seeing a healthy amount of the ball in the opening 16 minutes, the Buccaneers could not dismantle the Glamour Boys’ stubborn defence.
On the contrary, with the minimal ball possession, Chiefs could easily have taken the lead before the half-time whistle.
Parker was once again in the thick of things as he cleverly played in Mashiane, who found himself inside the penalty area with space but his attempted low strike towards the left corner was easily handled by Siyabonga Mpontshane.
Minutes before the players headed towards the tunnel, Parker was on the right flank in a counter attacking move with Samir Nurkovic was in box. The Chiefs captain played a perfect ball across for the Serbian but Thulani Hlatshwayo managed to slice the ball away before it could reach him.
Josef Zinnbauer showed his intent to claim a fourth consecutive win against Chiefs as he made two changes before the second half got underway as Fortune Makaringe and Kabelo Dlamini replaced Linda Mntambo and Ntsikelelo Nyauza.
Meanwhile, Gavin Hunt held his cards close to his chest which paid off minutes after the second half whistle sounded.
In his first ever Soweto derby goal, the lanky Nurkovic stood strongly in the 18 area as the ball bounced from a poor defensive clearance and the Serbian heroically attempted an overhead kick that hit the back of the net.
It was the sort of impetus this mammoth encounter needed as the Buccaneers began pushing forward with further intent.
Makaringe came close with an effort from outside the penalty area, which caught goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi off guard but to his dismay, it went narrowly wide.
Pirates kept moving the ball around and pushing more black shirts forward.
Hunt began looking into a change and took off Nkosingiphile Ngcobo with Matcheke Darrel replacing the 21-year-old.
Meanwhile, Mashiane was once again orchestrated a counter attacking move which freed up Nurkovic. With a chasing Hlatshwayo just off his shoulder, the Serbian went for power instead of precision and saw his effort go over the crossbar.
That would also be Mashiane’s final moment in the match as he was replaced by Philani Zulu.
The Buccaneers kept applying the pressure with Nurkovic and Hlatshwayo going at it with each other in a feisty standoff after Serbian fouled the Bafana Bafana international.
But Amakhosi kept their opponents at bay and claimed a vital three points to dent the Buccaneers’ title chances.
The victory sees Chiefs move to ninth place while Pirates drop to fourth on the DStv Premiership log standings.