Tshegotso Mabasa scored in stoppage time to rescue a point for Orlando Pirates.
Tshegotso Mabasa scored in stoppage time to rescue a point for Orlando Pirates in their DStv Premiership game against Baroka FC at Orlando Stadium on Saturday.
JOHANNESBURG – Tshegotso Mabasa was again the hero as he snatched a point for Orlando Pirates during their 1-1 draw with Baroka FC in the DStv Premiership at a wet Orlando Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Pirates’ striker scored the vital late goal for Pirates in stoppage time with a side-foot effort from close range to ensure Pirates remained undefeated in the league this season after two wins and three draws. This was Mabasa’s second late goal for the Bucs in as many matches.
One of the few robust sides in the top-flight this season, Pirates, at times, struggle at their peril. Against Baroka, the Buccaneers would feel they didn’t deserve to go into the break without nothing to show after a late resurgence in the first half.
But Perhaps, therein lies their problem: warming up late. For the better part of the half, they dominated the play and owned possession as they rotated the ball with ease in their build-up but without any much conviction in the final third earlier on.
Good football is good on the eye. But that was probably not the main display that coach Josef Zinnabuer had in mind after making five changes to the starting line-up that defeated SuperSport United 2-1 in their last outing here.
But after the half-an-hour mark, Pirates showed signs of reinvigoration with Zakhele Lepasa creating his team’s first chance of the game. The 23-year-old striker intercepted a pass on the edge of the box before swinging his body to rattle the side-netting on the near post.
From thereon, Paseka Mako started to look like a livewire, making inroads down the left wingback. The dwarfed defender nearly teed up his teammate for the first goal, whipping in a cheeky cross from close-range that forced Oscarine Masuluke to parry out the effort, with Thulani Hlatshwayo lurking.
Masuluke would, again, prove why he’s been the preferred No. 1 this season since returning for his second spell at Baroka ahead of Elvis Chipezeze. After Lepasa rose high in the box before turning to head towards goal, Masuluke produced an acrobatic save to keep the scoreline level.
While Masuluke was his team’s hero in the first half, his counterpart Richard Ofori, who didn’t have much to do then, was the Bucs’ culprit in the second. Under not much exerted pressure, Ofori spilled a Baroka set-piece, allowing Ananias Gebhradt to slot the loose ball home.
In a blink of an eye, the visitors should have been 2-0 after destabilising Pirates’ defence. But Kgodiso Monama who opted to take responsibility with a thunderbolt, outside the box albeit support lurking, saw his effort rattle onto the upright with Ofori beaten.
Monama was just not in the mood to score. He unceremoniously blasted a close-range effort into that empty stands after Ntsikelelo Nyauza lost possession and exposed his defence. But having Baroka fail to bury their chances, Pirates increased the tempo.
Such that substitute Mabasa, from thereon, nearly snatched the equaliser for the visitors but he put his close-range effort unceremoniously wide from goal. But in the end, Mabasa once again saved Pirates from the blushes, putting himself in the running to lead the front line in the MTN8 final in two weeks.