Absa Premiership

Orlando Pirates frustrated in PSL season opener

Musa Nyatama of Orlando Pirates and Denzil Haoseb of Highlands Park (Gallo)
Musa Nyatama of Orlando Pirates and Denzil Haoseb of Highlands Park (Gallo)

Cape Town - Orlando Pirates and Highlands Park took a point each in Saturday night's eagerly fought ABSA PSL contest at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg.

The hosts went behind after a poor own goal after a mistake from Wayne Sandilands, but responded in the second stanza as Justin Shonga converted a penalty.

Pirates dominated the possession in the early exchanges without really threatening in the final third, yet would go behind in the 14th minute from a blunder by goalkeeper Sandilands.

After a period of high pressing by the visitors, Gladwin Shitolo sent a pass back towards Sandilands who attempted to make a first time pass across his goal to the right.

However, the 34-year-old fluffed his lines and completely missed the connection on the pass. The ball went under his foot and rolled into the back of the net much to the shock of coach Milutin Sredojevic on the bench.

Bucs attempted to hit back immediately and Xola Mlambo showed his quality as he saw his strike shave the bar just after the 20 minute mark.

Soon after, goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini was sharp as he raced from his line to prevent Augustine Mulenga from pouncing on a through ball into the area.

The Sea Robbers were looking threatening and the away outfit were indebted to the woodwork when Vincent Pule's free-kick went close, as Kapini stood helpless.

Just before the break the same player asked questions when he burst through the middle, yet his strike went just wide.

After the interval, Shonga was brought on for the quiet Thembinkosi Lorch and the striker soon made his presence felt. When Augustine Mulenga was brought down in the box, the forward smashed home a confident penalty after the hour mark.

Pirates chased the winning goal in the closing stages as Mulenga forced Kapini into a low save around 10 minutes later. With time ticking away, the forward forced another fine save though it ended 1-1 on the night.