Wasteful Pirates give away two points at death against Baroka FC
Rulani Mokwena’s Operation Festive Season mission came to a painful halt after Orlando Pirates allowed Gerald Phiri to grab a last-gasp equaliser to earn Baroka FC an incredible 2-2 draw at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.
The Bucs coach was looking to close the year by winning their last three Absa Premiership matches against the Limpopo teams. A win yesterday would have followed Bucs’ 3-2 success against Polokwane City a week ago.
Two scorchers taken just outside the area in either half by Linda Mtambo and second half substitute by Kabelo Dlamini looked to give Bucs their first successive league win this season before they allowed Bakgaga to come back in the last ten minutes.
Mokwena, who said yesterday’s result feels like a loss, would have been happy to complete Bucs mission with a win against Black Leopards at the Orlando Stadium on December 21 before enjoying the short festive break.
Bucs’ midfielder Mntambo fired in the opening strike in the 39th minute after linking up well with Vincent Pule in a game the visitors dominated from the first whistle.
Pule was denied to open the scoring for Bucs in the 25th minute when his well curled free-kick just outside the area was outstandingly kept out by Elvis Chipezeze in Baroka’s goal.
Mntambo, who replaced Xola Mlambo’s in Mokwena’s previous starting XI, cleverly beat Chipezeze with a fierce ground shot.
Dlamini, who also came from the bench to score one of the goals against Polokwane, blasted in his second of the season, benefitting from a poor clearance by Chipezeze just seven minutes after coming on for injured defender Ntsikelelo Nyauza at the restart.
Bucs keeper Wayne Sandilands had kept his team his team in the lead with some brilliant saves before his skipper Happy Jele turned Phiri’s cross into his own net in the 82nd minute.
Phiri was to further break Mokwena's heart when he finished inside the area after the Bucs defence made a meal of clearing a simple throw in right at the death.