Pirates Grind Out Stalemate Against Swallows

Orlando Pirates were kept to a solitary point on the road when they drew 1-1 in their DStv Premiership clash against Soweto rivals Moroka Swallows.

In their second consecutive away fixture, the Buccaneers were determined to return to winning ways having suffered their first defeat of the year on their recent trip to Polokwane, where they lost 2-1 to Sekhukhune United over the weekend.

An erratic start almost saw them concede just seconds after the first whistle as a misdirected pass from Sipho Chaine led to a turnover of possession, resulting in a shot for Letsie Koapeng, who was denied by a crossbar.

This seemed to spring the visitors into life as they spent considerable time inside the Swallows half, conjuring a few goal attempts. The best of these came in the 21st minute via an inviting ball from the left flank delivered by Kabelo Dlamini into the direction of Tshegofatso Mabasa, who did all but connect well enough with the cross as his header went off-target.

They were made to rue the missed opportunities just five minutes after when another error at the back gifted the hosts an opportunity to take the lead, with Lindokuhle Mtshali duly slotting home past the outstretched Chaine.

The tricky conditions continued to play a part in the contest as Swallows nearly benefitted from one more defensive slip-up in the 31st minute, but the Bucs shot-stopper was perfectly positioned to make a relatively easy grab from a Koapeng shot.

Pirates had a couple of chances late in the first half when Mabasa headed into the side netting from close range before Deon Hotto fired narrowly off target from a fair distance out.

The visitors’ pursuit for the equaliser continued in the early stages of the second period, with midfielder Miguel Timm forcing a save off Daniel Akpeyi with a shot from range.

It only took them eight minutes after the restart to draw level, and the decisive moment came via some superb work on the right flank from Thabiso Lebitso, whose cutback was met by an accurate first-time shot from the onrushing Patrick Maswanganyi.

They immediately set about looking for their second and appeared to have found it through Thalente Mbatha who peeled away from the defence to turn an excellent cross from Hotto into the net, only to be flagged offside.

The Buccaneers continued to control matters in the second half and had a golden opportunity spurned with 13 minutes remaining on the clock when Maswanganyi’s ball into the box landed in the path of Relebohile Mofokeng who had Akpeyi beat but placed his shot over the bar.

Further chances fell to the visitors late in the contest, with Mabasa and late sub Zakhele Lepasa both unable to find the net with headed attempts from close range. This was before the loss of Sibisi, who was handed a straight red in injury time for dissent.

The late winner remained elusive in the end as Pirates were made to settle for a point, which keeps them in fourth place in the Premiership standings.

Pirates XI: Chaine, Xoki, Sibisi, Lebitso, Hotto, Timm (Ndondlo 67’), Mbatha (Lepasa 90’), Maswanganyi, Mofokeng (Kapinga 76’), Dlamini (Maela 76’), Mabasa.

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