The DStv Premiership’s ‘original’ Soweto derby between Swallows FC and Orlando Pirates ended in a 1-1 stalemate at the Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday evening.
The draw – the Birds’ 14th this season – sees them remain in fifth place on 38 points, while the Buccaneers are one point and one position above them.
The first true threat on goal came from Pirates in the 13th minute, with Vincent Pule firing on target from a free kick – Swallows goalkeeper Virgil Vries parried the ball up and into the path of Ntsikelelo Nyauza, but the defender couldn’t direct his header on target.
Two minutes later the Birds claimed the lead through an own goal from Bucs centre-back Thulani Hlatshwayo. Vuyo Mere provided a dipping cross from the right flank and Hlatshwayo attempted a stooping header to clear, but only succeeded in glancing it into his own net via the inside of the far post.
Swallows should have doubled their advantage on 33 minutes when defender Njabulo Ngcobo had a free header from a corner kick but failed to hit the target, while Pirates almost claimed an equaliser seven minutes later when a deflected cross from Siphesihle Ndlovu hit the far post – followed by a melee in the penalty area which saw several heroic blocks from the Birds’ defence.
The visitors spurned another chance to level the game eight minutes into the second half, with a defensive error allowing Deon Hotto clean through on goal – the winger just about managed to round Vries, but he was delayed enough for Ngcobo to recover to his goal line and clear a subsequent effort on target.
Pirates created most of the attacking play for the remainder of the game, though Swallows posed a threat on the counter, most notably when Ruzaigh Gamildien had a sight of goal on 73 minutes but saw his effort plucked out of the air by goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands.
Bucs finally found an equaliser in the 75th minute, with substitutes Wayde Jooste and Tshegofatso Mabasa combining to level the game at 1-1. The former provided a fine cross for the latter, who got ahead of his marker and directed a header beyond the reach of Vries’ left hand.
The teams traded half-chances in what remained of the game, but ultimately they settled for a share of the spoils. Swallows will return to DStv Premiership action in the coming midweek with a match at home to SuperSport United on Tuesday 27 April, while Pirates’ next league clash is at home to Mamelodi Sundowns next Sunday 2 May.
Swallows FC (1) 1 (Hlatshwayo 15’ og)Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Mabasa 75’)TEAMS:
Swallows:Vries, Mere, Letlabika, Ngcobo, Matlaba, Mokoena, Nyatama, Mahlatsi, Mbokoma (Mhlongo 83’), Sekgota (Hlanti 83’), Gamildien (Gozar 90+2’)
Orlando Pirates:Sandilands, Mabaso (Jooste 71’), Hlatshwayo, Nyauza, Mako, Makaringe (Zungu 84’), Motshwari, Ndlovu, Hotto, Pule, Mntambo (Mabasa 64’)© Backpage TXT