By Sports Focus Reporter
The ‘Golden Derby’ between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates ended in a dramatic 1-1 draw at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with Thulasizwe Mbuyane scoring an injury-time equaliser for the Buccaneers after Kaizer Motaung Jr had given the hosts an early lead that they very nearly held on to.
The result sends Pirates back to the top of the Absa Premiership standings, though it is now only on goal difference from Ajax Cape Town, who beat Free State Stars last night.
Chiefs are two points further back in third and will be bitterly disappointed after being within touching distance of a victory that would have sent them top for the first time this season.
Chiefs went with the same starting XI from their 2-2 draw with Santos last week, while Pirates made one change from the side that drew 1-1 with AmaZulu, as Andile Jali returned from injury to replace the suspended Clifford Ngobeni.
The Amakhosi started the better of the two teams and very nearly opened the scoring in the tenth minute, with Reneilwe Letsholonyane shooting just wide of Senzo Meyiwa’s left-hand post.
Just two minutes later Chiefs opened the scoring, with Kaizer Motaung Jr continuing his excellent form in 2011 by heading home Jimmy Tau’s cross from the right flank. In truth, the ball came somewhat off Motaung Jr’s shoulder, but it still had the beating of Meyiwa.
It took Pirates a while to recover from the shock of the early goal but they gradually began to compete better in midfield.
Just past the midway point of the first half, Katlego Mashego missed a great opportunity to draw his team level, dragging a right-footed shot wide of the target after a good combination with Thulasizwe Mbuyane.
With 26 minutes on the clock, referee Jerome Damon called for a water break. The interlude also allowed a chance for the grounds men to get on the pitch and attempt to fix some of the alarming divots that were cutting up on the re-laid turf.
Pirates created precious little to test Itumeleng Khune in the remainder of the first half, with the goalkeeper having to make just one notable save as he tipped a long range effort from Andile Jali around his post.
The Buccaneers dominated the second half and tested Chiefs with an aerial bombardment from long throw-ins, diagonal balls and crosses that caused Khune all kinds of troubles. The goalkeeper dropped a cross early in the second half and Rooi Mahamutsa stabbed an effort on target, but Khune reacted superbly to stop it crossing the goal line.
Chiefs were lucky not to concede a penalty with about 20 minutes to play, as Thomas Sweswe tripped up Ndumiso Mabena, but no spot kick was awarded to the away team.
The hosts offered almost nothing in attack in the second half, with strikers Motaung Jr and Knowledge Musona left to feed off scraps. Apart from a Sweswe header from a corner kick that flashed over the target, the Amakhosi simply never looked like adding to their lead.
On the balance of play, Pirates deserved to score an equaliser, but they had to wait until the third minute of referee’s optional time to finally score it, with Mbuyane heading home at the far post from Mabena’s cross.
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1 (Motaung Jr 12’)
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Mbuyane 90+3’)
Teams: (4-4-2) Khune; Tau, Nahayo, Sweswe, Masenamela; Dladla, Nengomasha, Letsholonyane, Tshabalala (Ncanana 83’); Motaung Jr (Yende 90’), Musona (Nale 90+3’)
Pirates: (4-2-3-1) Meyiwa; Jele, Mahamutsa, Lekgwathi, Cloete; Manyisa, Jali; Mbuyane, Chansa (Mayambela 76’), Mongala (Mabena 64’); Mashego
Referee: Jerome Damon
Cautions: Tau; Jele, Mbuyane