CAPE TOWN – Orlando Pirates and Cape Town City's defensive frailties were again exposed in a captivating 3-3 league draw at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Between them, the two teams have now conceded 13 times in their last two matches.
City had taken a two-goal lead after just nine minutes through Thabo Nodada and Kermit Erasmus before Pirates hit back with goals from Happy Jele and Tshegofatso Mabasa to make it 2-2 at the break.
The Soweto side then went ahead through Bulelani Ndengane, only for Shane Roberts to level matters for Benni McCarthy's charges, who have won just one of their seven games this season.
With Pirates looking to implement a high press early on, they were vulnerable on the counter-attack and that's what happened after six minutes when the Cape team broke with pace down the left flank through Nodada, who cut inside before unleashing a scorching drive from 25-yards out into the roof of the net.
Just two minutes later and the Citizens made it 2-0 when Erasmus beat the offside trap and then coolly ran in on goal and slotted a low shot past Joris Delle.
The Sea Robbers' defence continued to struggle to contain the lively City attack and it took two excellent saves from Delle to deny Mpho Makola and Fagrie Lakay.
That perhaps was the turning point, because at 3-0 up, a comeback would have seemed a long way away.
And just a couple of minutes after Lakay was denied scoring, Bucs pulled one back when Happy Jele's 23rd minute shot from outside the box deflected off Taariq Fielies and into the net.
This seemed to steady the Pirates ship and after Jele had gone close with a header, the hosts were back on level terms when after a slick 45th minute counter-attack, Xola Mlambo played in Tshegofatso Mabasa, who netted with a sublime angled shot into the far corner of the net.
There was little to choose between the two sides after the interval, until Pirates went ahead for the first time in the game when Kabelo Dlamini's 57th minute cross located Ndengane at the far post, from where he planted a powerful header past City keeper Peter Leeuwenburgh.
The Citizens, who had been forced to replace both Erasmus and Lakay at halftime due to heat exhaustion, were struggling to play with the same fluency and intensity they had exhibited in the opening 20 minutes of the match.
There was a chance though on 73 minutes for substitute Shaquille Abrahams, who looked set to pick out the bottom corner of the net until Delle made a fine save.
The Cape side then began to grow in attacking threat and they were back on level terms in the 84th minute when the home team's defence failed to clear a ball into the box, which allowed Roberts to take a touch before squeezing a close-range shot past Delle.
Pirates pushed hard for a late winner, but apart from a late penalty appeal which they probably should have received, they never really created any clear opportunities as their stuttering start to the season continues with just two victories from their seven matches so far.
African News Agency (ANA)