Pirates held to a draw by AmaZulu

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Josef Zinnbauer (Gallo Images)
Josef Zinnbauer (Gallo Images)

Orlando Pirates were held to a 1-1 stalemate by Amazulu in their opening DStv Premiership clash at the Kings Park stadium on Saturday.

Gabadinho Mhango, the PSL's golden boot winner last season, opened his account for the new campaign from the penalty spot but Lehlohonolo Majoro struck the equaliser for Usuthu.

After a rather uneventful opening, the game sprang to life in the 18th minute with the referee awarding the Buccaneers a controversial penalty.

Amazulu defender Sibusiso Mabiliso seemed to have fouled Siphesihle Ndlovu outside the penalty area and the official initially awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box.

However, after a lengthy consultation with his assistant referee a spot-kick was given to the anger of the Amazulu players.

Mhango, who netted 16 times in the league last time out, buried the penalty after the dust had settled to give the Soweto giants the lead.

To their credit, Usuthu never let the decision influence their game too much and they were awarded a spot-kick of their own on the half-hour mark.

Fortune Makaringe was rightly adjudged to have gone in too hard on Luvuyo Memela in what looked like a robust challenge. Majoro stepped up but his effort was initially saved by Pirates goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands but the forward held his composure and tucked away the rebound to level the score.

Mhango had a chance for his team to retake the lead before the halftime break but the striker headed wide from a corner.

Memela came closest to giving Amazulu the advantage just two minutes after the restart but his free-kick clipped the cross-bar when he beat a sprawling Sandilands.

Both teams failed to create any genuine goal-scoring opportunities from open play with defences solid throughout the contest.

Pirates defender Ntsikelelo Nyauza should have done better with a free header from a corner, his effort sailed over the bar with 20 minutes remaining.

Both teams then had chances to win the encounter at the death with Pirates substitute Zakhele Lepasa blasting over the top after a neat turn in the penalty area.

Memela then should have done better when he was picked out by a beautiful Majoro cross, but the former Bucs forward could only header straight at a relieved Sandilands.

- TEAMtalk media


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