Free State Stars and Orlando Pirates drew 1-1 in an Absa Premiership encounter played at Charles Mopeli Stadium on Tuesday nightBoth sides were desperately in need of maximum points heading into the Absa Premiership clash, as hosts Stars are fighting relegation while visitors Pirates are targeting a top four finish on the PSL log.
The match started at a slow pace, with either side failing to test the goalkeepers, in the first 15 minutes as the ball possession was shared evenly by the two sides.
The home side nearly scored in the 18th minute from a corner kick. But unmarked Stars captain Paulus Masehe could not direct his header.
Bucs midfielder Mpho Maola found some space in the Stars box three minutes later. The ex-Stars attacker saw his attempt rebound off a defender with goalie Ayanda Mtshali well beaten.
The away side were now in control of the match. Bucs hard man Thandani Ntshumayelo showed some good skill before shooting wide of the target from the edge of the box in the 35th minute.
Seven minutes before half-time, Stars broke into attack, with striker Richard Henyekane charging forward with great pace, but his shot was gathered by Bucs goalie Senzo Meyiwa.
It was 0-0 at half-time, as Pirates failed to beat Stars goalie Mtshali despite creating a number of open chances during the first half.
Five minutes into the second half, Makola should have at least tested Stars goalie Mtshali. The 28-year old decided to pass the ball to his teammate Kermit Erasmus, who could not control the pass.
Stars nearly grabbed the opening goal in the 52nd minute. Striker Moeketsi Sekola took a powerful shot at Bucs goalie Meyiwa, but the Bafana Bafana shot-stopper brilliantly saved the attempt.
The Buccaneers found the goal they had been looking for in the 72nd minute. Ex-Stars defender Ayanda Gcaba came back to haunt his former team as he made it 1-0 to Pirates.
Bucs should have doubled their lead 10 minutes before regulation time. However, substitute Masuku struck the ball narrowly wide of the target.
The home side equalized in the 89th minute, through Mamelodi Sundowns loanee Henyekane, who beat Bucs goalie Meyiwa, to make it 1-1.
It ended 1-1, and the teams remained on their respective positions on the Absa Premiership log.