Orlando Pirates vs Maritzburg United PSL Absa Premiership report
Posted: 16 January 2016 Time: 19:48
Maritzburg United squandered a 3-0 lead as Orlando Pirates fought back to earn a 3-3 draw in a thrilling Absa Premiership clash at Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night.
Mondli Cele gave the Team of Choice the lead in the eighth minute, turning home Evans Rusike's cross from the left after the Zimbabwean beat Tsepho Gumede for pace.
Rusike then doubled the lead with a deft chip over Brighton Mhlongo after playing a one-two with Deolin Mekoa and being played in behind the Pirates defence.
Brian Onyango made it 3-0 just three minutes later after shaking off the attention of Issa Sarr in the box following a half-cleared corner and scrambling in Mekoa's left-wing cross.
But Pirates would not give in quickly, and Thabo Rakhale pulled a goal back just a minute later, chesting down a cleared header, letting it bounce and volleying it into the bottom-left corner.
Buccaneers coach Eric Tinkler made a double substitution at half-time, replacing Lehlohonolo Masalesa and Gift Motupa with Thandani Ntshumayelo and Tendai Ndoro.
The visitors played like a different side after the break and pulled another goal back through Thabo Matlaba, who drilled the ball into the back of the net from inside the area after Rakhale's cross was not properly cleared.
Tinkler threw on Thabo Qalinge with 20 minutes remaining as he went all-out attack to salvage something from the game and it paid off in the 80th minute when the substitute nodded Rakhale's cross back across goal for Erasmus to sweep home following a good dummy from Ndoro.
It ended 3-3, which is a crushing blow to Ernst Middendorp's basement dwellers, while a point is disappointing for Pirates but acceptable considering the way they got it.
HOME: Maritzburg United
Coach: Ernst Middendorp
AWAY: Orlando Pirates
Coach: Eric Tinkler