Experienced Chippa midfielder Mark Mayambela was a thorn in the flesh of Pirates for the entire match and proved to be the architect of the opening goal in the 18th minute.
The former Pirates and Ajax Cape Town man seemed to have run too far with the ball across the park, but managed to lay it off to Sizwe Mdlinzo, whose chip found Mxolisi Macuphu, who blasted the ball home.
Eight minutes later, Pirates managed to level matters when Bernard Morrison’s attempted cross struck the arm of Chippa midfielder Paseka Mako on the right-hand side of the home team’s penalty area. Morrison put the spot-kick into the back of the Chippa goal-net, just out of the reach of the host’s goal-minder and ex-Buccaneer No 1 Brighton Mhlongo.
Chippa should have been two goals to the good by this stage after Mdlinzo fired wide of an open goal target in the 14th minute, after the ball was cut back to him during a Chippa counter attack.
Pirates thought they had taken the lead in the 58th minute when midfielder Musa Nyatama played the perfect ball through to unleash Morrison who netted, but the goal was ruled off-side.
Pirates’ Zambian striker Justin Shonga put the visitors ahead in the 73rd minute when he finished off an intense period of play in the Chippa goalmouth.
Ten minutes later, Chippa’s second half substitute Katlego Mashego levelled the score with his first touch since entering the game, as he netted after Thabo Rakhale’s shot was initially blocked.
However, Pirates restored the lead when defender Innocent Maela produced a superb cross from the left, which the small body frame of Thembinkosi Lorch managed to get a glancing header on, four minutes from full-time.
Chippa did their utmost to find the equaliser, but were caught on a counter attack when Shonga powered home his second goal of the afternoon from the tightest of angles on the right-hand side in the 90th minute.
Pirates moved to 26 points from 22 games, which places them four points behind log-leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, as they begin preparations for Saturday’s Soweto Derby against fellow title-chasers Kaizer Chiefs.
The result in Port Elizabeth brought an end to Chippa’s seven-match unbeaten run (six in the league and one in the Nedbank Cup), as they remain on 27 points from 23 games. Their next league outing will be against high-riding Cape Town City in Cape Town on Friday.
— Orlando Pirates FC (@orlandopirates) February 25, 2018