Bucs salvage a point

Orlando Pirates came back from the dead to salvage a well-earned point when they drew 2-2 against Moroka Swallows in an action packed Absa Premiership Soweto Derby played at a rain soaked Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.

The equaliser, netted four minutes from time by Rooi Mahamutsa, was just reward for Bucs, who were trailing by two goals, one early in each half by Birds striker Shaun Haschick. But Pirates never gave up and were rewarded with a point. Had it not been for the brilliant form of Bird goalkeeper Greg Etafia in the first half, Pirates would have won by double figures.

However, at the end of the night, Pirates had slipped nine points behind leaders and defending champions SuperSport United with 18 fixtures completed.

The Birds had an early half chance and punished Bucs in the third minute when Pirates midfielder Andile Jali blundered when chesting the ball to his keeper Moeneeb Josephs.
Haschick made the home side pay when he slotted home the first goal
of the night.

After that it was Pirates versus Etafia.

The Nigerian star was at his brilliant best on a rain-sodden pitch. He made a number of miraculous saves in the first half and helped inspire his defenders to get stuck in and deny Pirates an

Etafia made his first telling save in the sixth minute off Thulasizwe Mbuyane who was put through by Katlego Mashego but Etafia did well to block Mbuyane’s shot. Three minutes later Etafia made a brilliant stop from close range off a goal-bound effort from Gert Schalkwyk at the expense of a corner. Then in the 14th minute the agile Nigerian somehow denied Jali an equaliser.

But luck was on the Birds’ side and Bucs captain Lucky Lekgwathi watched in horror as his close-range shot was scrambled off the goalline on 16 minutes.

Then Etafia pulled off two more saves from the ever dangerous Bucs striker Mashego in the 25th and 28th minutes as Pirates stormed into attack and had Swallows under a lot of pressure.

Bucs midfielder Phenyo Mongala brilliantly left Birds defender Thomas Cichon for dead in the 34th minute and unleashed a thunderbolt that Etafia managed to palm away for a corner.

At the other end a brilliant reflex save by Josephs a minute later kept Bucs in the game as Birds hit Bucs in the counterattack. The Bafana Bafana keeper was going the wrong way to stop Collins Mbesuma’s header from a brilliant Siyabonga Nomvethe cross and somehow twisted in midair and got a hand to the Zambian international striker’s header and managed to prevent Swallows
going 2-0 ahead.

Mbuyane was wide with a header four minutes from the break as the home side kept up the pressure in the pouring rain.

Haschick beat Josephs with a curling shot from the edge of the penalty area in the 54th minute against the run of play.

Pirates then capitalised on Etafia’s only mistake in the 57th minute when he failed to cut out a tame cross from Mbuyane and Mongala did well to keep his nerve and head home the loose ball to make it 2-1 and set up a grand stand second half for the Bucs fans in the small but appreciative crowd of about 10 000 who braved a wet night.

Birds defender Ashraf Hendricks came close when he headed a Cichon free kick fractionally wide of the Bucs woodwork in a rare shot at Bucs goal in the 65th minute.

The Birds goal led a charmed life when another Lekgwathi goal-bound header was deflected for a corner by Cichon in the 71st minute.

Pirates, urged on by their fans, kept going forward and were rewarded in the 86th minute when Mahamutsa volleyed home the equaliser.
But a stunning save by Josephs off substitute David Radebe in the last minute ensured that the derby ended 2-2. - Sapa

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