Pirates fight back to deny Royal AM

Orlando Pirates fought back to hold Royal AM to a 1-1 draw in the DStv Premiership encounter which was played at the Orlando Stadium on Thursday evening.

The draw extended Bucs’ winless run to four matches in the league and they remained seventh on the standings, while Thwihli Thwahla, who are now undefeated in their last six games, moved up to fourth place on the log.

The Buccaneers started well in a high-tempo first-half and they should have grabbed an early goal when Fortune Makaringe set up Tshegofatso Mabasa, who missed a sitter with only goalkeeper Hugo Nyame to beat three minutes into the game.

Almost immediately at the other end, Thwihli Thwahla were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the hosts’ box after Levy Mashiane was fouled by Olisa Ndah, but Given Mashikinya’s effort from the resultant set-piece was blocked by the wall.

The two teams continued to attack each other with speed and the deadlock was broken in the 32nd minute when Mashiane scored with a simple tap in to hand Royal AM a 1-0 lead after being set-up by Letsoalo, who had stolen possession from Happy Jele inside the box.

However, the Buccaneers fought back and they levelled matters after Tshidiso Monamedi gave away possession near the right touchline and Linda Mntambo scored with a stunning long-range effort to make it 1-1 on the stroke of halftime.

Pirates suffered a blow after the restart as their inspirational captain Jele, who had scored against Cape Town City and Diables Noirs this month, picked up an injury four minutes into the second-half and he was replaced by Thulani Hlatshwayo.

However, the loss of Jele did not deter the Buccaneers and they should have taken the lead in the 61st minute when Bandile Shandu set up Mabasa, whose effort from close range was blocked by Cameroonian shot-stopper Nyame, who was well-positioned to make a save.

Both teams launched attacks in the closing stages of the game and the last chance of the game fell for Letsoalo in stoppage time, but Mpontshane came out to deny the Bafana Bafana international to ensure that the game ended in a 1-1 stalemate on the night.

Pirates (1) 1 (Mntambo 45′)

Royal (1) 1 (Mashiane 32′) © Backpage TXT

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