Home Sport Pirates draw with Royal AM at Orlando Stadium

Pirates draw with Royal AM at Orlando Stadium

Mzwanele Mahashe of Royal AM challenges Kwame Peprah of Orlando Pirates during the DStv Premiership 2021/22 match on Thursday. Picture: Sydney Mahlangu, BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates and Royal AM had to settle for a point each from their DStv Premiership game at Orlando Stadium that ended at 1-all.

JOHANNESBURG – Orlando Pirates are gradually becoming their own worst enemy in domestic football. That they shared the spoils with Royal AM after a 1-all draw at home on Thursday night was due to their wasteful act up front and blunders at the back.

This was Pirates’ fifth draw in eight league matches, while they’ve won two and lost one. But this result was also a disappointing one for the highest scoring team, Royal AM, in the league, although they remained fourth on the log.

For the better part of the game, Pirates dominated possession, but their strikers failed to pounce early on. Things got worse as a misunderstanding between Happy Jele and goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane cost them dearly.

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But perhaps it’s worth a mention that Pirates were unfortunate, losing Jele to an injury early in the second half. The Bucs’ skipper has been Pirates’ livewire this season, while he scored against Diables Noirs in the Confederation Cup at home.

That goal took the Bucs to the play-off qualifiers of the continental showpiece in their bid to qualify for the group stage. For Royal AM, though, it was a bitter draw as well but they’ll try to take positives from the fact they are getting the goals.

Pirates have endured a roller-coaster outing in the league. They’ve failed to win since August, while they’ve collected a host of draws, thereafter. But that they were on the back of a win against Diables was earmarked as their turning point.

Their co-coaches Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi showed their intentions going for an-all attack approach. They started with two marksmen Terrence Dzvukamanja and Tshegofatso Mabasa. The duo were rotated in the last few games.

As early as the first minute, though, Pirates had their first shot on target. Given Mashikinya fouled Linda Mntambo on the edge of his box. Mntambo took the resultant free-kick, forcing goalie Patrick Nyame to parry the shot back to play.

Soon thereafter, Mabasa should have found the lead for the home side. Nyame made a casual clearance that found Mntambo who found Fortune Makaringe. The latter linked up with an unmarked Mabasa who put his shot wide.

But with the Bucs continuing to be wasteful up front, Royal AM started to find their feet. They had two-penalty appeals that were dismissed by referee Luxolo Badi. Olisa Ndah initially found an onrushing Levy Mashiane closer to the D-Line.

But it was the duel between Jele and Victor Letsoalo inside the box that had the most talking points. But Badi felt that Letsoalo went down easily, awarding a free-kick to Jele. The latter, though, cost the Bucs in another scuffle with Letsoalo.

Just after the half-an-hour mark, Kabelo Mahlasela let free Letsoalo, but Jele tried to cushion the loose ball en-route to Siyabonga Mpontshane. And, out of nowhere, Letsoalo poked the ball to an unmarked Mashiane who slid the ball home.

But the Bucs were not going down without a fight, whipping dangerous crosses into Royal AM’s half. And they were rewarded with a great effort from Mntambo who chipped his effort over an out-of-position Nyame and into the far-corner.

In the second half, though, there wasn’t much to write home about – except for the injury sustained by Jele and Nyame’s save against Mabasa’s pin-point shot. The two teams will be eager to bounce back to winning ways next week, Tuesday.


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