After Thamsanqa Gabuza and Lerato Lamola goals appeared to have the match settling towards a draw, the on-loan Bidvest Wits striker cleverly lifted the ball over Jackson Mabokgwane to give Abafana Bes’thende the three points they needed to leapfrog Ajax Cape Town into the top half of the table.
Clinton Larsen’s side ended the season on 38 points, one ahead of the Urban Warriors, while the Buccaneers completed their worst season in the Premier Soccer League-era by ending 11th.
Arrows, beaten by the same opponents in last week’s Nedbank Cup semi-final, needed to win the match in Durban to have any chance of making the top eight, but they were sluggish at the outset allowing Pirates to dictate play.
The Bucs had the better chances too, although there was a scare in the 12th minute when Nduduzo Sibiya’s corner was met nicely by the head of Lerato Lamola only for Jackson Mabokgwane to save with his legs.
Either side of that chance there were two for the visitors. First a Thamsanqa Gabuza header was nodded straight at Nkosingphile Gumede, while Marc van Heerden had a penalty appeal waved away after his free-kick appeared to strike the hand of a defender.
Then came the opening goal Mpho Makola’s corner from the left was met at the near post by Gabuza, who could hardly miss this time.
Six minutes from the break, Arrows had their best chance of the game when Siyabonga Dube’s cross from the right was met by a more powerful header from Lamola this time, only for Mabokgwane to make an acrobatic stop.
The lead was almost doubled before the interval when Ayanda Gcaba met another Makola corner, only to see his header crash back off the crossbar.
There was another heart-stopping moment for the Durban side before the hour when a quick one-two between Tendai Ndoro and Makola led to the former being denied by a sprawling Gumede save.
Arrows then drew level in fine fashion on 60 minutes, as Lamola threw himself off the ground to score with a overhead kick after Mabokgwane had meekly surrendered possession.
And there was late drama when Zimbabwean Mutizwa latched onto Siphelele Magubane’s pass and lifted the ball over the goalkeeper and into the back of the Pirates net.