Sifiso Myeni of Orlando Pirates (r) celebrates the second goal with teammates during the Absa Premiership match between Orlando Pirates and Ajax Cape Town on 03 February 2016 at Orlando Stadium.
POLOKWANE - Polokwane City and Orlando Pirates played to a 1-1 draw in an Absa Premiership clash at the new Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday afternoon after a goalless first half.
For Polokwane, the result was a cruel reminder that a team has to take its scoring opportunities. It was a fixture the team from the Limpopo Province should have won easily; instead, they allowed Pirates to sneak a late, late equaliser.
Polokwane would probably have come into this fixture as the underdogs, but they were certainly up for it. They worked hard, ran their socks off and attacked with gusto in their attempt to get the better of the Buccaneers.
Pirates knew they were in for a difficult encounter. The Soweto side had an opportunity early on when Oupa Manyisa’s pass found Zimbabwean striker Tendai Ndoro, currently the PSL’s leading marksman, but he volleyed his shot over the bar.
But Polokwane were doing some really good work at the other end and they were unfortunate not to take the lead when Pirates goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo saved to prevent Rodney Ramagalela from opening the score.
In a flowing game, Pirates swept forward and, in the 30th minute, Mpho Makola played in Thabiso Kutumela, but the forward’s shot hit the upright. Just before half-time, Polokwane’s Ramagalela was again to the fore, coming close with yet another effort.
Minutes into the second half, Mhlongo again had to be alert to prevent Polokwane striker Poleng Tlolane from scoring – but, in the 52nd minute the Pirates keeper could only watch on helplessly as Tolane drilled a thumping drive into the top corner.
An inspired Polokwane continued to pile on the pressure and they were unlucky not to increase their advantage when Mhlongo was again in action, this time saving well to stop a Tlolane effort.
Desperate to get back into it, Pirates looked to the bench for inspiration, with Riyaad Norodien coming in for Kutumela. The change added a bit more spark to the Soweto side’s attack, with both Amigo Memela and Norodien coming close to netting an equaliser.
FULL TIME: Polokwane City 1-1 Orlando Pirates. The Bucs gain a point from nothing with Ndoro's last-gasp header.— Orlando Pirates FC (@Orlando_Pirates) October 16, 2016
Despite this, Polokwane were still surging forward, they certainly weren’t going to sit back to protect their lead. They were unfortunate not to score again as Sipho Jembula and Thobani Mncwango had opportunities to kill off the game.
And then, just to prove how cruel this game of football can be, Pirates equalised with the last play of the match – and it was that man Ndoro who snatched a point for the Buccaneers with a fine header in the 94th minute.