Pirates Reserves Grab a Point on the Road

A bright start could not guarantee maximum points for Orlando Pirates Reserves, who were held to a 1-1 draw by SuperSport United in their DStv Diski Challenge encounter at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday morning.

After managing just a single point in their last two outings, several changes were made to the Bucs Reserves lineup, with Zeke May making his first start at this level in place of Ndumiso Ngiba, while the trio of Gomolemo Khoto, Mohau Nkota and Relebohile Ratomo were deployed up front on their return to the starting XI.

Defence was resolute at both ends for much of the game’s opening exchanges, with most of the action concentrated in the middle of the park.

It took nine minutes plus a spark of magic for a decisive moment, which was provided by Nkota – back from national duty – who went for goal from just outside the penalty area and left United goalkeeper Samkelo Xulu without a chance as he sent the ball crashing into the back of the net for the game’s opener.

Despite being in the lead, the visitors kept up their intensity with midfielder Njabulo Mndebele connecting well with the attacking pair of Nkota and Ratomo.

Bucs shot stopper Allesandro Du Plessis, who did not have much to do early on, was finally called upon in the 29th minute, and was well on top of things as he made a fantastic save to keep his side in the lead when United attacked through a corner.

The latter part of the first half was all SuperSport United as they went on the offensive in search of the equaliser, but Pirates did have a few moments of their own inside the opposition half, where Nkota continued to pepper Xulu with shots from range in search for his second.

With most of the action occurring inside Bucs territory, it was through some excellent work from Du Plessis that they remained in the lead going into halftime, with captain Cassius Spandiel also showing great leadership in marshalling the defence.

United came out guns blazing in the second half, and their period of dominance was briefly interrupted by a close call at the other end as Nkota combined with Khoto, whose shot was cleared off the line in the 50th minute.

Just seven minutes after, the hosts were afforded a golden opportunity to draw level with Siyabonga Ndlozi penalised for handling the ball inside the box and made no mistake from the spot as they made it 1-1.

The Soweto Giants were kept busy at the back, where the new centre-back combination of Spandiel and May kept the hosts at bay, while Jabulani Mokone – introduced after the hour mark – tried to make things happen in the rare voyage inside the United half.

The right winger almost made a telling impact late in the contest when he made a fine run on the flank before seeking out Nkota down the middle, but a timely clearance was made by the defence.

With the final whistle eventually sounding, the Pirates Reserves were made to settle for a point for the second week running as things remained square at one-all.

Pirates Reserves XI: Du Plessis, Spandiel, May, Ndlozi, Kabini, Molepo, Mndebele (Bule 63’), Khumalo, Khoto (Mokone 63’), Nkota, Ratomo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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