The Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates ended in a 1-1 draw, but the predictable nature of the result belied a thrilling encounter played at the FNB Stadium in Soweto on Saturday.
The Amakhosi and the Buccaneers threw everything they had at each other in a fantastic advert for the Absa Premiership, and a sharing of the points was a fair result in the end.
The point gained by each team does little for their respective log positions: Chiefs remain in fourth place on 35 points, while Pirates are up one spot to 10th on 21 points.
Pirates started with great confidence and certainly didn’t look like a team that came into the occasion on the back of a nine-game winless streak in the league.
They created a string of early chances and Dove Wome was denied by fine saves from Chiefs goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune in both the 11th and 13th minutes.
Yet, against the run of play, the Amakhosi claimed the lead with a swift attack on 16 minutes. Siphiwe Tshabalala and Bernard Parker combined to set up former Buccaneers player Joseph Molangoane with a tap-in.
Pirates almost hit straight back through striker Thamsanqa Gabuza, who chested a ball down on the edge of the box and struck a volley on target, only for Khune to make another sharp save.
On 33 minutes the Buccaneers were back on level terms, with Thembinkosi Lorch’s shot from a tight angle deflecting into the net via the legs of Tsepo Masilela and Itumeleng Khune to make it 1-1.
The second half carried on where the first left off, with chances flowing at either end. Lorch and Ayanda Gcaba threatened for Pirates in the early minutes, while Chiefs’ Zimbabwean duo of Edmore Chirambadare and Willard Katsande also had opportunities.
With just under 10 minutes of regulation time remaining, the Amakhosi were gifted a penalty when Gcaba was harshly adjudged to have deliberately handled a cross from Molangoane in the 18-yard area.
Katsande took on the responsibility of the spot kick but saw his effort well-saved by the legs of Mhlongo in what Bucs fans will argue was poetic justice.
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1 (Molangoane 16’)
Orlando Pirates (1) 1 (Masilela og 33’)
Chiefs: Khune, Mphahlele, Mathoho, Gordinho, Masilela, Molangoane, Maluleka (Baloyi 64’), Katsande, Chirambadare (Twala 56’), Tshabalala, Parker (Paez 86’)
Pirates: Mhlongo, Nyauza, Jele, Gcaba, Phungwayo, Lorch (Norodien 67’), Mobara (Sarr 86’), Manyisa, Makola, Wome (Ndoro 67’), Gabuza