Pirates fail to put AmaZulu to the sword

Orlando Pirates were left to rue their missed chances after they drew 1-1 with AmaZulu FC in a DStv Premiership match at the Orlando Stadium on Friday night.

Therefore, the Buccaneers remained fifth on the league standings - three points behind second-placed Richards Bay - and they are now set to take on Lamontville Golden Arrows on Tuesday. On the other hand, Usuthu remained ninth in the standings and they are scheduled to face Maritzburg United on Wednesday.

It was an end-to-end start in the opening exchanges in the city of Soweto with neither side looking happy just to sit back and invite pressure. Monnapule Saleng was unlucky not to score his first goal for Pirates when his free-kick hit the upright with eventual Man of the Match and goalkeeper Veli Mothwa well-beaten.

At the other end, Usuthu looked dangerous whenever they pushed forward and they awarded a penalty after goalkeeper Richard Ofori was adjudged to have fouled Lehlohonolo Majoro, who was substituted, in the hosts' box. Siphesihle Maduna then stepped up and beat Ofori from the spot-kick to hand AmaZulu a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute.

Bucs responded by exerting pressure on the visitors and they managed to level matters as Mothwa netted an own goal when a low shot from Kermit Erasmus came off the Bafana Bafana shot-stopper before hitting the back of the net to make it 1-1 heading into the halftime break.

The two teams continued to attack each other after the restart with Pirates being forced to make a change when Ofori went down injured and Siyabonga Mponytshane replaced him. Pirates were awarded a penalty after Ramahlwe Mphahlele had handled the ball in the visitors' box, but Mothwa denied Nkosinathi Sibisi from the spot-kick.

The momentum was with the hosts in the latter stages of the match and they had several opportunities to snatch a late winning goal. Deon Hotto's exquisite cross found Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo, whose low shot was superbly saved by Mothwa, who also denied Olisa Ndah with a wonderful stop to ensure that the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

Orlando Pirates (1) 1 (Mothwa og 45')

AmaZulu (1) 1 (Maduna 35' pen)

Orlando Pirates: Ofori (Mpontshane 55'), Ndah, Sibisi, Maela, Shandu (Makaringe 22'), Hotto (Mako 77'), Timm, Motshwari (Dlamini 46'), Ndlondlo, Saleng, Erasmus (Peprah 75').

AmaZulu:Mothwa, Sikhakhane, Hanamub, Mphahlele, Mobara, Buchanan (Bwalya 72'), Makhaula, Maluleka (Brooks 63'), Maduna (Kunene 63'), Kwem, Majoro (Ndlovu 34').