Pirates stuck in first gear as Stellies hold them to another draw

Ntsikelelo Nyauza of Orlando Pirates (r) celebrates his goal during the DStv Premiership 2020/21 football match between Orlando Pirates and Stellenbosch FC at Orlando Stadium, Soweto on 28 October 2020 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates are still without maximum points after being held to a 1-1 draw by Stellenbosch FC in the DStv Premiership at Orlando Stadium on Wednesday night. 

This was Pirates’ second successive draw having played to the same scoreline against AmaZulu FC in their opening league fixture.

Bucs found it hard to crack down a stubborn Stellies defense, which was able to remain firm for the most part of the second half.

It was also Stellies second draw of the campaign as Steve Barker’s charges also played to a 1-1 draw against Swallows FC.

Both sides have registered two points after two games of the season.

Pirates new goalkeeper Richard Ofori got his first start of the season since joining the Buccaneers, while captain Happy Jele also got into the starting line-up for the first time with Wayde Jooste out injured.

It was quite a balanced affair in the first half as the teams were able to create a number of chances.

Kabelo Dlamini got an opportunity to test the Stellies keeper Lee-Raoul Langeveldt in the 13th minute after the visitors failed to clear the ball inside the box, but the midfielder’s attempt went over the bar.

A minute later, Stellies were awarded a free-kick just outside the Bucs box after Ashley Du Preez was brought down by Jele. Marc Van Heerden stepped up to take the set-piece but uncharacteristically ballooned it over the poles.

In the 26th minute, Nathan Sinkala had the best chance of the game after meeting up with a Robyn Johannes cross at the back post, but his header just went inches over the bar.

A defensive error by Stellenbosch, not being capable to clear away the ball from a corner just two minutes after half-hour mark granted Ntsikelelo Nyauza his first goal of the season as he put Bucs in the driving seat from close range.

Bucs defender Paseka Mako lost possession on the left-side which allowed Stellies to create a chance with a cross meeting up with Sinkala nicely and he headed the ball into the back of the net in the 41st minute.

Just before half-time, the Cape side had a glorious opportunity to go into the break with the lead after the  Du Preez broke free into goals, but his powerful shot saw Ofori making an excellent save leaving the teams to go into break level on 1-1.

Just as the second half was about to start, Bucs coach Josef Zinnbauer made a shocking three substitutions, seemingly looking like he wasn’t happy with something from the first half.

Dlamini, Deon Hotto and Gabadinho Mhango all made way for Terrence Dzukamanja, Thabiso Monyane and Zakhele Lepasa, but Mhango was said to be struggling with a groin injury since the start of the game.

Bucs looked energised with Lepasa putting pressure on the Stellies defenders.

The Mother City-based outfit, meanwhile, were able to absorb the pressure but weren’t becoming effective going forward.

A miscommunication by Stellenbosch at the back almost gifted Pirates their second goal of the match with Lepasa knocking the ball towards the net despite the pressure from Johannes and Langeveldt, but Alan Robertson was able to clear the ball off the line in the 70th minute.

The game went on with Pirates doing everything they could  to get the winner, but Stellenbosch remained solid at the back.

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