Ten-Man Bucs Salvage Point Away to Sundowns

A determined effort from a ten-man Orlando Pirates saw them claim a crucial point in a 1-1 draw on their return to DStv Premiership action at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Buccaneers played the bulk of the second half a man short after losing midfielder Miguel Timm to a red card but were able to claim a point that condemned the home side to a third successive stalemate in the league.

A fair chunk of the action in the game’s opening half-hour occurred inside the home side’s territory, with the visitors looking the livelier of the two sides early on.

They had opportunities through Makhehleni Makhaula and Evidence Makgopa who both placed their shots off target inside the opening quarter, but could not find a way past Ronwen Williams. A similar result greeted defender Tapelo Xoki in the 28th minute when he was cleverly played in from a set piece by Deon Hotto before firing straight at the Sundowns shot-stopper.

The Tshwane outfit’s only real chance of the first half came just after the 30-minute mark through Peter Shalulile who connected with an excellent cross from Marcelo Allende, heading it just wide of the target.

The Buccaneers continued to enjoy more of the possession for the remainder of the first half, but without mustering any further clear-cut opportunities.

Their positive attitude was compromised early in the second half after Miguel Timm was handed his marching orders with 36 minutes left to play after picking up his second caution of the game.

This invited a more adventurous approach from the hosts, who immediately sought to maximise their numerical advantage.

Shalulile headed over the bar from close range before new signing Matías Esquivel fired with a curling effort after the hour mark.

Their breakthrough came in the 74th minute through a long-range strike from Allende which evaded an outstretched Sipho Chaine to make it 1-0 to the hosts.

Sundowns’ enthusiasm however extended to the other end of the field, where Xoki was brought down by Abdelmounaim Boutouil inside the box, prompting referee Thando Ndzandzeka to point to the spot.

The Bucs defender was the one tasked with spot-kick duties, and calmly fired down the middle to draw his side level in the 78th minute.

Sundowns could have edged back ahead a minute later when Gaston Sirino’s cross from the left found Shaluline, who continued to misfire. They remained in the ascendancy for most of the closing stages, forcing the visitors into endless defensive work.

The rearguard was able to hang on, completing a valiant performance which saw the Soweto Giants securing an important point on the road.

Pirates XI: Chaine, Maela, Xoki, Ndah, Monyane (Lebitso 87’), Hotto (Ndlondlo 57’), Timm, Makhaula, Maswanganyi (Sibisi 87’), Saleng (Pule 68’), Makgopa (Marou 68’).

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