Orlando Pirates were denied the chance to climb to third place in the DStv Premiership standings after playing out to a 1-1 draw with SuperSport United at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday.
Josef Zinnbauer made seven changes to his side that beat Jwaneng Galaxy in the Caf Confederation Cup, with Thabang Monare, Fortune Makaringe, Siphesihle Ndlovu and Thulani Hlatshwayo the only players to retain their place in the starting lineup.
The Buccaneers got off to the perfect start and opened the scoring 10 minutes into the first half when Vincent Pule received a pass from Deon Hotto, before firing the ball into the back of the net from inside the box.
Pirates nearly doubled their lead in the 23rd minute but Happy Jele and Fortune Makaringe were unable to deflect the ball into the net after a goalmouth scramble inside the SuperSport box.
SuperSport almost levelled matters three minutes later after Bradley Grobler’s cross took a deflection towards the Pirates goal, but Richard Ofori was on hand to make the save and keep his side’s lead intact.
Zinnbauer was forced to make a substitution in the 27th minute as Azola Tshobeni replaced the injured Thembinkosi Lorch, who limped off the field.
Moments later, Jele should’ve made it 2-0 in favour of Pirates but the veteran defender couldn’t get enough power on his header as Ronwen Williams made a comfortable save.
With the last chance of the game, Mahachi won a free kick near the touchline. A dangerous ball was delivered into the area but Jele intervened to clear the ball away from danger as the game went into the half-time break.
SuperSport had a chance to equalise early in the second half but Guily Manziba blazed his effort well over the crossbar. Pirates had an opportunity of their own in the 50th minute, which Pule curled just past the upright from the edge of the box.
Williams came to his side’s rescue two minutes later when he produced a fine save to keep out Ben Motshwari’s strike from distance.
The home side’s patience paid off in the 67th minute when Motshwari’s desperate clearance from Lungu’s shot ended up turning the ball into his own net.
Pule went in search of his and Pirates’ second goal after 77 minutes, but the attacker couldn’t keep his spectacular effort low and on target. Hotto then almost restored their lead after meeting a pin-point pass from Ndlovu, but rushed his shot to send the ball wide.
Pirates nearly put the game to bed with a minute left to play when Hotto beat Williams, who came off his line and launched what looked like a goalbound effort but was cleared away by Luke Fleurs.
Both teams pushed forward in the closing stages of the game but were forced to settle for a point apiece.
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