19 March, 2023
Orlando Pirates Reserves played to a thrilling 2-2 draw on their visit to Idas Valley Sports Ground, where they took on Stellenbosch in a DStv Diski Challenge clash on Sunday.
It’s the second consecutive draw for the Bucs Reserves, who remain third in the standings with eight games left to play this season.
The hosts went into the fixture in search of a second straight win, and were quickest off the blocks, causing a few nervy moments for the Soweto Giants who found themselves with plenty of defending to do in the opening exchanges.
Bucs keeper Siyabonga Dladla was called upon as early as the first minute when he was forced into a desperate save to keep out a seemingly goalbound shot from close range.
There was another heart-in-mouth moment five minutes later, with captain Ndumiso Ngiba prompted into a goal-line clearance as Stellies continued to advance.
The visitors managed to escape their own half as the game progressed and were able to fire their first shot at goal after the 10-minute mark through Mohau Nkota, who fired wide after linking up with Relebohile Ratomo.
Winger Gomolemo Khoto joined in on the act moments later when he was played in by Ratomo before shooting off target.
It was all Pirates in the middle part of the first half, as they put the defence under pressure without finding the breakthrough.
The hosts managed to launch a counter as the halftime whistle approached, but their attack was brilliantly cut off by Ngiba when he scrambled to make a clearance.
The second half began with the Buccaneers dictating terms, and Khoto could have made that count in the 51st minute when he went on an excellent solo run from the halfway line before narrowly missing the target as he entered the penalty area.
Stellies deployed the counter once more after the hour mark, managing to stretch the Bucs defence before Kgwadi Molepo intervened to thwart the move.
A magic moment brought the breakthrough, which came in the 66th minute through Ratomo, who took the ball from the middle of the park to the box and calmly slotted home to make it 1-0.
The home side had a few bright moments in response, managing to stretch the Pirates defence in the 62nd minute, only to be halted by some fine defending from Kgwadi Molepo.
They did manage to draw level, with the Bucs defence eventually breached by Jaylen Trent on the 74-minute mark.
The two sides were only level for six minutes, as substitute Mpumelelo Ndaba restored the visitors’ lead after connecting with a fine pass from Ratomo.
Stellenbosch threw everything in search of another equaliser, which came in the game’s dying moments as they were awarded a free kick, which was converted by Shaun Morgan who made it 2-2 with a minute to go.
There was not enough time for the Buccaneers to find a third, with the game finishing in a stalemate, making it three games without a win for the Soweto Giants.
Pirates Reserves XI: Dladla, Kabini, Ngiba, May, Mohlala, Khumalo, Molepo, Mdunge (Mndebele 52’), Khoto, Nkota (Ndaba 70’), Ratomo.