Absa Premiership

Brave Baroka hold Pirates to share spoils

Ntsikelelo Nyauza (Gallo Images)
Ntsikelelo Nyauza (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Milutin Sredojevic's perfect start as Orlando Pirates coach came to an end on Tuesday after his side were held to a 1-1 draw by Baroka FC at the Peter Mokaba Stadium.

As it happened: Baroka 1-1 Pirates

Pirates made a strong start in Polokwane and enjoyed plenty of possession in the final third, although the killer ball was lacking on a few occasions in the opening stages.

The closest they came early on was when Qalinge advanced into space on the right and fired a shot over the crossbar.

The hosts weren't overawed by their illustrious opponents and played some good football themselves, with Goodman Mosele sending a swerving effort just wide of the right post from outside the box in the 27th minute.

Qalinge was presented with a chance on 38 minutes after Baroka failed to clear their lines, but his strike from the edge of the box was sliced over the bar.

However, the Bucs midfielder took his next chance with aplomb as he glanced a header into the left corner of the net from Mpho Makola's cross on the right in the 41st minute.

Bakgaga nearly found an instant response as Gift Motupa got on the end of a long ball into the box to force Wayne Sandilands into a fine fingertip save with his header.

But the visitors could have taken a two-lead into the break had Thamsanqa Gabuza not directed his header wide from Luvuyo Memela's cross on the left in stoppage time following a quick counter.

Kgoloko Thobejane's men took the game to Pirates in the second half, with Mduduzi Mdatsane threatening to restore parity on 56 minutes with a rising shot that flew over the bar from 20 yards out after a free-kick was cleared into his path.

Qalinge continued to look impressive and he sent Gabuza through on goal in the 62nd minute, but the striker's low effort from a narrow angle on the left was comfortably saved by Virgil Vries.

Thabo Rakhale showed neat skills to cut the ball back on his left foot from Innocent Maela's square pass on the left before getting off a shot that was deflected over the bar on 63 minutes.

Sandilands had to be alert to keep out Punch Masenamela's fierce strike from range five minutes later, but there was nothing he could do to keep out Banda on 72 minutes as the Tanzanian defender powered his header home at the back post from a deep corner.

The equaliser was well deserved with Bakgaga having stepped up their game after the break, although all their hard work was nearly undone in added time when a free-kick routine saw the ball played short to Thabiso Kutumela inside the box, but his tame shot was smothered by Vries.