Orlando Pirates’ dead-ball woes came back to haunt them as they leaked a late second-half goal to draw 1-1 with Baroka FC in an entertaining Absa Premiership match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Tuesday night.
After dominating the early stages of the match, Pirates deservedly went ahead in the 41st minute when the short frame of Thabo Qalinge managed to latch on to a superb cross from the right from Mpho Makola to send a glancing header past Baroka’s Namibian goalkeeper Virgil Vries.
The Limpopo side nearly levelled matters a minute later when Pirates goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands was forced to dive full length to his right, to push a header from the attacking Gift Motupa away for a corner kick.
Baroka’s tactical approach suffered much in the first period when coach Kgoloko Thobejane lost right back Matome Kgoetyane in the 14th minute with a muscle injury before having to substitute the promising 17-year-old forward Goodman Mosele with a knee problem on the stroke of halftime.
In a bid to push for the equaliser, the coach gambled at the start of the second half when he introduced new Baroka recruit Siphelele Ntshangase in place of Motupa.
While cautious of being caught on the counter-attack, Baroka pressed forward in search of the equaliser and had the better of the first 20 minutes of the second period.
The Pirates midfield machine which had looked so powerful in the first half seemed to lose the edge they had in the first 45 minutes.
In the 72nd minute, some poor Pirates marking allowed Tanzanian Abdi Banda to power home a header past Sandilands to level the score.
The result means that Baroka have been unbeaten in eight matches, including two in the run-in to the end of the 2016/2017 league campaign, and four in the playoff matches. African News Agency (ANA)