Martin late strike dent Pirates title hopes

Cape Town City winger, Craig Martin, scored with six minutes of regulation time remaining to hold Absa Premiership leaders Orlando Pirates to a 2-2 draw at Athlone Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The result moves the Buccaneers a point ahead of second placed Mamelodi Sundowns who have a game in hand over their title rivals, heading into the final week of the 2018-19 season. The Brazilians, who are the defending champions, now know that two wins in their final two games will see them retain the title.

City remain in fourth place - six points behind the league leaders - and are duly now mathematically out of the title race.

Zukile Kewuti opened the scoring for the hosts with 20 seconds on the clock after the game was delayed by 15 minutes to allow those still streaming onto the stands to take their place.

Martin stripped Pirates of the ball from the kick-off and after a mad scramble inside the area, which included a costly error by Marshall Munetsi, Kewuti fired into an empty net to stun the Ghost.

Pirates hit back in the 16th minute through Player of the Season favourite Thembinkosi Lorch. Musa Nyatama's precise ball beat the offside trap as Lorch darted in behind before guiding the ball home with a net finish.

The Buccaneers completed their turnaround five minutes following the break. Peter Leeuwenburgh denied Lorch on two occasions, but could do nothing to keep out Memela who saw his initial effort cleared by Taariq Fielies, before picking his spot at the second bite of the cherry.

Martin, though, would pull the teams level once more in the 84th minute following a lapse of concentration at the back for the visitors. Thato Mokeke delivered a pin-point cross into a dangerous area and onto he head of his flying teammate who nodded home from close range.

Riyaad Norodien almost delivered the killer blow in added time, but Wayne Sandilands pulled off a superb save to keep out the former Buccaneers winger's rasping free-kick, in a moment that could still define the Soweto giants season.

Cape Town City (1) 2 (Kewuti 1' Martin 84')

Orlando Pirates (1) 2 (Lorch 16' Memela 50')


Cape Town City: Leeuwenburgh; Edmilson, Cupido, Feiles, Mkhize, Mokeke, Kewuti, David (Norodien 81'), Links, Martin, Mthembu (Roberts 70').

Orlando Pirates: Sandilands; Jele, Munetsi, Maela (Qalinge 90'), Nyatama, Motshwari, Dube (Mulenga 87'), Pule, Memela (Mlambo 75'), Lorch, Shonga.