ORLANDO Pirates’ stuttering form in the Absa Premiership continued following a goalless draw with Maritzburg United at Orlando Stadium last night, where both sides finished with 10 men.
With Thembinkosi Lorch and Mthokozisi Dube missing through suspension, Gabadinho Mhango and Abel Mabaso were drafted into the line-up as Fortune Makaringe lined up against his former side for the first time since joining Pirates.
Despite the visitors’ good form, it was Pirates who started the brighter of the two sides and they could have been a couple goals up in the opening 15 minutes had it not been for Kabelo Dlamini’s poor finishing.
Maritzburg, meanwhile, had to wait until the half-hour mark for their first opening as a long throw from Dan Morgan found Rushin de Reuck, who steered a header over the crossbar from close range.
Richard Ofori ensured the sides went into the halftime break level as the the Team of Choice shot-stopper proved his worth by denying Vincent Pule from 10-yards out.
Pirates coach Rhulani Mokwena instilled a double change just before the hour mark as Augustine Mulenga and Justin Shonga replaced Mabasa and Dlamini.
It went a bit pear-shaped for the home side minutes later after being reduced to 10 men when Happy Jele received his second yellow card for a late challenge on Kutumela. He will now miss the Soweto derby. However, the odds were evened up with 12 minutes remaining in the second half as Maritzburg’s Kwanda Mngonyama was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Pirates thought they had bagged the winner in the final 10 minutes when Shonga rattled the upright, although the ball was not deemed to have crossed the line.
In the end, Maritzburg were able to see out the closing stages of the second half to deny Pirates victory and claim a valuable point on the road.
Meanwhile, Ndumiso Mabena and Menzi Masuku came off the bench and found the back of the net as Bloemfontein Celtic defeated Highlands Park 3-1 in the Absa Premiership clash at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Bloemfontein last night.
Owen Da Gama rang the changes following the weekend’s Telkom Knockout encounter as Peter Shalulile, Sifiso Mbhele and Mothobi Mvala returned to the line-up
After a quiet opening to the half, Celtic found the opening goal on 19 minutes through Sera Motebang, who bagged his third goal of the campaign.
However, the MTN8 finalists were back on level terms just before the halftime break as the league’s top scorer Shalulile netted his seventh goal of the season.
In an attempt to claw their way back into the clash, Lehlohonolo Seema threw on Mabena and Masuku on the hour mark, while Highlands introduced Rodney Ramagalela.
As the half went on, it was Celtic’s substitutes that proved fruitful as Mabena fired past Thela Ngobeni with nine minutes remaining in the contest. The win was sealed moments later when fellow substitute Masuku bagged his first goal of the season from the penalty spot as Celtic move up to ninth spot.
— Soccer Laduma.