KAIZER Chiefs came back from behind in the first half to earn a 1-1 draw against arch-rivals Orlando Pirates at the FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The away side opened the scoring early in the first half through Kermit Erasmus before Kingston Nkhatha netted the equaliser for Amakhosi minutes before the break.
The first shot on target came for the Pirates in the seventh minute when the ball fell for Rooi Mahamutsa just outside the penalty area, but his low shot was saved by Itumeleng Khune.
George Lebese had an even better opportunity at the other end a minute later when he went on a solo run from the left flank, only to drag his low shot wide of the far post.
The Buccaneers took the lead in the 10th minute from a well-worked move which saw Daine Klate freeing Thabo Matlaba on the left; who then squared the ball for Erasmus to volley home.
Chiefs were awarded a free kick on the left six minutes later as Lebese was brought down by Khethokwakhe Masuku; Bernard Parker went for goal but his effort dipped just over the crossbar.
Klate had a great opportunity to double Pirates’ lead in the 20th minute when he was put through by Erasmus on the left side of the box, but the winger sliced the ball wide of the near post.
Six minutes later Siphiwe Tshabalala threatened to level matters when he fired a low effort from outside the penalty area, but the ball skidded just wide of the upright.
The equaliser would eventually arrive four minutes before the break when Nkhatha sidefooted home at the far post, connecting with Tshabalala’s cross.
Lennox Bacela had a quiet first half but he came close to restoring Pirates’ lead in the 54th minute when he curled the ball towards goal from the left side of the box, but Khune reacted quickly to palm the ball over the crossbar.
Then just after the hour mark the two sides were involved in a scuffle on the field but the referee had a discussion with both captains before allowing play to resume without further repercussions.
The pace of the game slowed down in the second half but it was Roger De Sa’s men who came close to stealing the game in the 75th minute when Tlou Segolela delivered a cross from the right, but Sifiso Myeni fired wide at the far post.
Kaizer Chiefs (1) 1 (Nkhatha 41’)
Orlando Pirates (1) 1 (Erasmus 10’)
Kaizer Chiefs: Khune, Gaxa, Gould, Mashamaite, Masilela, Katsande, Letsholonyane, Tshabalala (Nkosi 90’), Lebese (Dladla 90’), Parker, Nkhatha (Majoro 72’)
Orlando Pirates: Meyiwa, Jele, Matlaba, Mahamutsa, Gcaba, Manyisa, Jali, Masuku (Segolela 64’), Klate (Masalesa 90 + 4’), Bacela, Erasmus (Myeni 54’)-Backpage TXT