SuperSport United 1-1 Orlando Pirates: Matsatsantsa fight back to deny Buccaneers
Onismor Bhasera, SuperSport United & Vincent Pule, Orlando Pirates, February 2021
The Soweto giants failed to move into the top three on the standings after conceding in the second-half

SuperSport United came back to hold Orlando Pirates to a 1-1 draw in a PSL encounter which took place at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Vincent Pule opened the scoring for Bucs in the first-half with his fourth league goal of the season, but his teammate Ben Motshwari netted an own goal to level matters after the restart.

Matsatsantsa were keen to return to winning ways after drawing 1-1 with Kaizer Chiefs in a PSL clash over the weekend and also avenge their 2-1 defeat to Pirates in the first round match in November 2020.

Former Pirates duo of Kudakwashe Mahachi and Thamsanqa Gabuza were among the three players, who were recalled to the starting line-up by coach Kaitano Tembo. 

Meanwhile, Bucs were determined to win five matches in a row for the first time since February 2020 having edged out Botswana's Jwaneng Galaxy 1-0 in the Caf Confederation Cup game over the weekend.

Coach Josef Zinnbauer made 10 changes to the starting line-up which faced Galaxy with the likes of Richard Ofori, Happy Jele, Thembinkosi Lorch and Deon Hotto making their return to the team.

Pirates got off to the perfect start as they took the lead just 10 minutes into the match with Pule marking his return to the starting line-up with a well-taken goal.

Hotto was the provider as the Namibia international played a delightful cross for Pule, who then controlled the ball well, before firing past SuperSport goalkeeper Ronwen Williams with a low shot.

However, the Buccaneers had to make an early change after Lorch went down holding his hamstring and was replaced by 18-year-old sensation Azola Tshobeni in the 28th minute. 

The visitors continued to launch attacks in search of another goal and Jele's goal-bound header was well-saved by Williams, who also dealt well with crosses that were played in Matsatsantsa's box.

SuperSport pushed for the equalizing goal towards the half-time break, but Pirates stood firm at the back and the Soweto giants were leading 1-0 at the interval.

Pirates controlled the match after the restart with Motshwari dictating the tempo of the match from the middle of the park and Tembo decided to introduce Teboho Mokoena.

Mokoena was hoping to score against the Buccaneers for the second time this term having netted Matsatsantsa's consolation goal in their first round loss to Pirates at Orlando Stadium.

The influential midfielder tried to make an immediate impact, but his curling attempt from a free-kick was comfortably saved by Ghana's finest goalkeeper, Ofori in Pirates' goal-posts.

The momentum was with the hosts at this point and they managed to level matters when Ghampani Lungu's low shot was turned home by Motshwari, who netted an own goal to make it 1-1 in the 66th minute.

It was then end-to-end stuff with the two teams searching for more goals and Ndlovu set-up Hotto, who placed his effort over the crossbar with only Williams to beat.

At the other end, Jamie Webber pulled the trigger from range and his powerful shot was parried away by Ofori, who was having a busy second-half.

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Pirates should have snatched a late winning goal when Hotto's low effort beat Williams, but Luke Fleurs made a crucial goal-line clearance in stoppage time to ensure that the match ended as a 1-1 draw.

The result saw SuperSport remain second on the league standings - three points behind leaders, Mamelodi Sundowns, while Pirates moved up to fourth place on the log - a point behind third-placed Swallows FC.

SuperSport will now take on AmaZulu FC in a league game on March 2, while Pirates are scheduled to face Maritzburg United in the Nedbank Cup Last 16 match on February 27.