Pirates held to a 1-all draw by Stellies at home
JOHANNESBURG - Having a balanced squad on paper doesn’t necessarily guarantee a balanced team on match-day. Orlando Pirates are proof of that after they yet again squandered their lead to settle for a successive draw in the DStv Premiership.
The Buccaneers scored the first goal during their 1-all draw with Stellenbosch FC at home, at the Orlando Stadium, on Wednesday night. But an inch of sloppy defending late in the first half awarded Stellies a point.
This was Pirates second draw in a row, having shared the spoils with AmaZulu in the same fashion on Saturday after scoring first through Gabadinho Mhango from the spot before Lehlohonolo Majoro equalised also for the penalty-mark.
But after having returned with their heads down from Durban, coach Josef Zinnabauer had earmarked his first full points of the season – something that would have given his team a much-needed boost ahead of the MTN8 semi-final clash against rivals Kaizer Chiefs.
However, heading to the Soweto derby on Saturday Zinnbauer was left with more headaches than thrills, especially after his charges went into break on the backfoot – despite taking the lead through a scrambled goal from Ntsikelelo Nyauza from a resultant corner-kick.
After the half-an-hour mark in the first half, Pirates made inroads into Stellies final third but Kabelo Dlamini close-range effort deflected wide off goal, resulting into a corner-kick that resultated to some erratic defending from the visitors.
Stellies, though, didn’t drop their heads as they continued to push numbers forward. Those strides paid dividends, five minutes before the interval, after Paseka Mako clumsily lost possession as the defence was caught in sixes and sevens.
Zitha Macheke intercepted Mako’s ball before teeing up Du Preez who was holding up play for his fellow attacking contingents. But the Stellies’ No. 9 linked up with Jayden Adams whose swift delivery found an unmarked Nathan Sankala who headed home with ease.
Debutant Richard Ofori saved his team from the blushes on the stroke of half-time after winning a one-on-one duel against Du Preez. After beating the offside trap Du Preez only had Ofori to beat but he blasted his effort to the Ghanaian who had closed down the angle.
At the end, the Buccaneers, although they were not at the best, were unlucky to only bag a point from this contest – considering that they had a Zakhele Lepasa effort cleared off the line by Alan Robertson late in the game.
But that Pirates nearly had the perfect ending was due to the treble of substitutions by Zinnbauer during half-time, having Lepasa, Terrence Dzvukamanja and Thabiso Monyane replaced the injured Mhango, Dlamini and Deon Hotto.
For Stellies, too, the hunt for the first three points of the season continues as they’ve also bagged two points out of six this campaign, having been held to a 1-all draw in their opening match of the campaign at home by Swallows FC on Sunday.
Orlando Pirates (1) (1)
Stellenbosch FC (1) (1)