Matome Mabeba celebrates scoring a sensational free kick to put Baroka FC in the lead against Orlando Pirates. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates barely passed a Caf Champions League-like test, three days after passing the real test with flying colours in the 3-0 thumping of Horoya on Saturday to move to the summit of Group B.

The Buccaneers couldn’t replicate that performance on Tuesday night in a match full of gamesmanship from Baroka.

But they somehow managed to steal a point with a late goal from Vincent Pule in a 1-1 draw at Orlando Stadium.

Pirates celebrated that goal like it was a match-winning one because they spent the whole night struggling to penetrate a stubborn defence.

The Limpopo outfit took a chunk of the time through their antics, much to the frustration of everyone here whose allegiances were black and white.

Pirates dominated this match. They had the lion’s share of possession, but found it hard to translate that dominance into goals.

Baroka were made to chase the Buccaneers’ shadows in a one-sided affair. Jackson Mabokgwane didn’t have much to do but pick the ball from his own net after a stunning free kick from Matome Mabeba in the 12th minute.

Before that strike and after it, Bakgaga sat back, looking to catch the hosts on the counter.

The Telkom Knockout champions, who beat Pirates in the final last month in Port Elizabeth, frustrated the Soweto giants and the Ghost by wasting time.

Serial time-waster Elvis Chipezeze started and his teammates followed, killing time and the Buccaneers’ momentum with their “injuries”.

It was clear that Baroka came here for a draw, but once maximum points were within reach, they parked a bus and an aeroplane. The hosts couldn’t break down that reinforced rearguard.

Pirates assistant coach Rhulani Mokwena was visibly upset, gesticulating at the officials and Baroka coach Wedson Nyirenda – telling them to tell the visitors to hurry up.

The former Zambian national team boss shrugged at those gestures, and watched his side test Pirates’ mental strength.

The Buccaneers players kept their cool. They still passed the ball around and kept chipping away at the bus and the aeroplane in front of Chipezeze.

Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic even brought a tractor – Thamsanqa ‘Gandaganda’ Gabuza – to bulldoze his way past the stubborn defence.

Their patience was eventually rewarded with Pule’s 83rd-minute header.

Vincent Pule produced an excellent header to equalise for Orlando Pirates. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The Pirates forward gave the Buccaneers a point that kept them in the league race.

The Sea Robbers are now two points behind log leaders Wits.

Even though they’ll celebrate this point, it was more of a case of two points dropped as they missed out on an opportunity to catch up with the early pacesetters, who also dropped two points against a team from Limpopo, Polokwane City.

Pirates now shift their focus to the Nedbank Cup. They will visit Limpopo to take on Black Leopards in Venda on Saturday. 

IOL Sport

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