So close for City, but Bucs deserved draw
In a match-up that emphasised the tight nature of this most closely contested Absa Premiership season, Polokwane City took Orlando Pirates to within minutes of a home defeat at Orlando Stadium last night.
Debutant Dominic Chungwa put City ahead in the 19th minute and it was left to substitute Lyle Foster to equalise in the 87th minute of an absorbing 1-1 draw. If any match this weekend has displayed the strides made in the PSL, this was it. Smaller teams have tended to travel to big sides fired up to throw everything at them.
It was a hit-and-miss tactic. Polokwane came to Orlando with a plan, and calmly applied it. Not intimidated, they at times bossed the game with patient, upright defending and smooth passing. Only Pirates’ edge in quality, their perseverance in plugging away at resolute opposition, tactical discipline, and a perhaps too cautious second-half approach by City s aw Bucs salvage a draw. Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic kept his starting lineup from the inspired 3-1 victory over Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld last weekend. That side had shown just one enforced change —Mpho Makola for suspended Thabo Matlaba — from the previous win by the same score here against Baroka.Polokwane coach Bernard Molekwa made four changes from his team’s 2-1 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium. Ndivuvhuwo Ravhuhali, Thapelo Tshilo, Edgar Manaka and Chungwa replaced Simphiwe Hlongwane, Sibusiso Mbonani, Lorence Vilakazi and Rendani Ndou. This was the second game of the day delayed by a few minutes.
Cape Town City's 1-0 win over Ajax at Cape Town Stadium had ticket issues. This match had a net not properly fixed to the post, quickly tied with rope by ground staff. Once it started, it was an intoxicating, fascinating contest. Pirates tried to stamp their authority early, Justin Shonga finding space on the edge of the area to strike cleanly, George Chigova having to palm away for a corner.Polokwane, though, showed no awe. They took the ball calmly off Pirates when the home side ventured forward, and moved it with confidence. In a sustained period of pressure, from a second corner in quick succession, Jabulani Maluleke ’s delivery found Zimbabwean signing Chungwa, who announced his arrival with a powerful header past Jackson Mabokg wane.
City ’s calmness on the ball only seemed to grow after the goal. It bordered on domination — with a touch of admirable arrogance — as Rise and Shine looked like they were the big, home team. Pirates had to fight for their chances, Mthokizisi Dube beating Walter Maponyane into the area and seeing a shot blocked.