Pirates held by Spurs ahead of the Soweto Derby

THALENTE Mbatha of Orlando Pirates challenges Liam Bern of Cape Town Spurs during the DStv Premiership at Orlando Stadium. | BackpagePix

THALENTE Mbatha of Orlando Pirates challenges Liam Bern of Cape Town Spurs during the DStv Premiership at Orlando Stadium. | BackpagePix

Published Mar 6, 2024



Mofokeng 12’


Michael 76’

ORLANDO STADIUM - Orlando Pirates’ Soweto derby dress rehearsal didn’t go according to plan as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Cape Town Spurs in the DStv Premiership match in Orlando on Wednesday night.

The result didn’t help much in lifting Pirates’ confidence ahead of the clash against arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs on Saturday nor their bid to climb up on the standings.

Pirates remained fourth with 30 points, one behind the second-placed Stellenbosch who beat the third-placed Cape Town City on Tuesday night.

But for Spurs, it was a point gained. The basement dwellers took a huge morale from this result as they are now unbeaten in the last three games in the league.

So often it’s been said that the derby has lost a bit of a rivalry tag, with the two teams no longer producing the menacing battle that divided the nation.

But such is the hype around the youngsters around Saturday’s showpiece at FNB Stadium, there could be something to look forward to in a while.

The mind games were set alight by Chiefs’ Wandile Duba on Tuesday as he fired a warning to Pirates, saying, “they should expect me because I am coming.”

The 19-year-old was full of confidence, having scored a brilliant solo goal against Golden Arrows which gave his team a boost ahead of the derby.

But it wasn’t long before his Pirates’ counterpart Mofokeng fired his own warning at Chiefs, scoring Pirates’ only goal as they drew 1-1 with Spurs at home.

Mofokeng scored in the 11th minute, capitalising on a miskick by Siviwe Nkwali, as he went on one-on-one with Neil Boshoff before slotting into the far post.

It was a goal that ensured that Mofokeng had most of the Ghost behind him as he received cheers from the stands with every pass and attack.

Mofokeng wasn’t always successful in his strides, but having players such as Makhehlene Makhaula behind him allowed him room to be free and make mistakes.

Makhaula is finding his feet at Pirates after a low start. He’s played all games since the start of the year as he’s cleaning up well for players such as Mofokeng.

But Pirates will be disappointed with the two points dropped after a dominant first half, which saw Thabiso Monyane testing the early waters.

The Pirates right back forced goalkeeper Boshoff into an early save with a pile drive after creating acres of space for himself down the flank.

And while he should have done better with his second attempt, Tshegofatso Mabasa, who was making his first start of the year, had a better chance moments later.

But the Pirates striker failed to bury a close-range effort after a well-placed cut-back by Innocent Maela who was one of the four changes on Wednesday night.

Mofokeng stole the show thereafter, proving just why Chiefs must look out for him on Saturday as he gave his side a well-deserved lead into the break.

But as coach Jose Riveiro made a host of changes in the second half, giving fringe players such as Lesedi Kapinga game-time, Pirates lost a bit of their possession.

Spurs capitalised on that, Gabriel Michael restoring parity for his side with a well-taken volley that sent the stadium into deafening silence.

That was a blow for Pirates who had earlier survived the scare of losing goalkeeper Sipho Chaine to an injury after he needed medical treatment for some time.

Maela nearly won the game for his team in stoppage time, but his close-range header was saved off the line by Boshoff as Spurs hung on.

Pirates were also denied by a clear penalty later on after Denwin Farmer stomped Zakhele Lepasa inside the box, resulting in heated exchanges on the dugouts.

Other DStv Premiership results:

Chippa 3, Richards Bay 0; Sekhukhune 1, Royal AM 0.