JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates showed character to score twice in the final 10 minutes to force a 2-2 draw against bottom-of-the-table FC Platinum of Zimbabwe in a Caf Champions League Group B match at Orlando Stadium on Friday evening.
It was a well-earned point for Pirates, who had trailed for the best part of 54 minutes.
Pirates goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands did well to keep the score level by keeping out Never Tigere’s penalty in the 19th minute, after Bucs’ Brazilian defender Caio Marcelo was penalised for handling in the penalty area.
It was the Zimbabwean outfit who opened the scoring in the 27th minute when the attacking Tigere fired in a low shot, which was deflected into the Pirates goal by defender Alfred Ndengane.
Ndengane was again the villain of the peace in the in the 37th minute, when he was beaten for pace by Perfect Chikwende, before Rainsome Pavari converted the cross from close range.
Pirates sorely missed the attacking skills of midfielder Vincent Pule, who was serving a one-match suspension after he received a fourth yellow card in the previous Champions League match against Esperance.
Thembinkosi Lorch gave the hosts a chance of getting something out of the match when he finished off a slick Pirates passing movement in the 81st minute.
With the Zimbabweans seemingly headed for a 2-1 win, Augustine Mulenga pounced on a loose ball in the 87th minute and scored the equaliser at the far post.
⚫️⚪️🔴⭐️— Orlando Pirates FC (@orlandopirates) March 8, 2019
FT || @orlandopirates 2-2 @FCPlatinum.
🥅 Lorch 81’
🥅 Mulenga 87’
A near miss in Added Time almost sparked pandemonium in the stands as the Bucs clawed back a draw from the jaws of defeat, to set up a MUST WIN in Conakry next week. Do or die.
☠️☠️☠️#CAFCL #OnceAlways pic.twitter.com/Fe614U0NMH
Having surrendered their 2-0 lead, frustration had crept into the visitors’ play, and midfielder Kelvin Moyo was sent off after tackling Thamsanqa Gabuza to the ground in the 92nd minute.
Pirates now have six points from five matches in the group, with their next Champions League outing an away trip to Horoya in Guinea next Saturday.
Platinum remain bottom of the table with two points from five matches.
African News Agency (ANA)