Soon after falling behind early in the second half, Arrows’ Mzwandile Buthelezi committed a foul, but already-cautioned Limbikani Mzava was booked instead, then red-carded.
“I have nothing to say,” was the only comment from Arrows coach Clinton Larsen on the case of mistaken identity in Indian Ocean port city Durban.
Former African champions Pirates took advantage of having an extra man on the pitch in Durban to score again before a late Arrows’ goal created a tense finish.
Thembinkosi Lorch put the Soweto Buccaneers ahead on 49 minutes and Mthokozisi Dube doubled the lead 20 minutes from time with his first goal for the club.
Jabulani Shongwe slammed the ball past Pirates goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane with six minutes remaining at a packed Princess Magogo Stadium.
Sundowns have 43 points, Pirates 42, Maritzburg United 38, Free State Stars 37 and Kaizer Chiefs 36 with six rounds remaining in the title race.
Free State suffered a setback after losing 1-0 at mid-table Chippa United, who were playing their first league match under new coach Vladislav Heric from Serbia.
Abel Mabaso scored the only goal in eastern city Port Elizabeth on 47 minutes to gave Chippa revenge for a South African FA Cup loss at Free State last weekend.
Fifth-place Kaizer Chiefs could only draw 0-0 at home against relegation-threatened AmaZulu before a small crowd in the 90,000-capacity Soccer City stadium in Soweto.
“It was a very frustrating night,” said under-pressure Chiefs coach Steve Komphela after his team drew for the 12th time in 24 league matches.
With little hope of winning the Premiership, Komphela needs to lift the FA Cup to avoid three consecutive trophy-less seasons.