JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs’ winless run against Orlando Pirates stretched to 12 matches spanning 1,496 days when they surrendered the lead in an often cagey 1-1 Soweto derby draw on Saturday.
Although Chiefs are the most successful South African football club with 53 trophies, they have not defeated their arch domestic rivals in any competition since December 2014.
For much of the 166th clash between the clubs it seemed Chiefs would bury the jinx as they looked sharper and led after 53 minutes through a Daniel Cardoso penalty.
But when they cheaply conceded possession in the centre circle with 10 minutes left, Pirates pounced before a sell-out 90,000 crowd at Soccer City stadium in Soweto.
A quick pass down the middle found Thembinkosi Lorch and he rounded Chiefs’ debutant goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi from Nigeria to equalise from a tight angle.
The South African Premiership draw suited neither third-place Pirates nor fifth-place Chiefs as they failed to take full advantage of leaders Bidvest Wits losing 2-1 at Highlands Park.
Pirates are four points behind Wits having played one match less while Chiefs lie nine points adrift of the pacesetters having played the same number of games.
Chiefs’ German coach Ernst Middendorp was angry after the derby as he felt the four-time Premiership champions should have secured maximum points.
“After going ahead, we had chances to double the lead but failed to take them and were eventually punished,” he said.
“We deserved to win this match by at least one goal, possibly two. I fielded a largely young side against opponents competing in the CAF Champions League and they did very well.
Pirates’ Serb coach Milutin Sredojevic gave a terse “no comment” when asked about the foul that led to the spot-kick Cardoso planted in the corner of the net on 53 minutes.
There appeared to be minimal contact between Chiefs’ star Zimbabwe striker Khama Billiat and Asavela Mbekile before the attacker fell to the ground as if poleaxed.
“It was a ‘chess’ match in which we started sluggishly and gradually improved,” said the coach who joined Pirates after being in charge of Uganda.
“Chiefs were extremely motivated and we had to dig deep and display a lot of character before levelling.”
Fixtures between Chiefs and Pirates, Al Ahly and Zamalek in Cairo, Raja and Wydad in Casablanca and Mouloudia and USM in Algiers are the biggest local club derbies in Africa by attendances.
Gift Motupa gave Wits an early lead near Johannesburg as they chase their second Premiership title in three seasons having waited 96 years for the first.
But Namibian Peter Shalulile soon equalised and mid-table Highlands Park won the match through a goal from jet-heeled Mokete Mogaila on 70 minutes.
The title ambitions of fourth-place Cape Town City suffered a setback in Durban as they missed a penalty in a 1-0 loss to AmaZulu.
At the other end of the table, Chippa United continued a good run under new coach Clinton Larsen by winning 2-0 away to fellow strugglers Free State Stars in central town Bethlehem.AFP