Pirates remain winless
Posted: 4 October 2008 Time: 22:18
Orlando Pirates are still searching for their first win of the Absa Premiership season following their 1-1 draw with Santos at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday evening.
The Buccaneers will claim they suffered at the hands of fate (they hit the frame of the goal no less than four times) but in truth they have only themselves to blame for dropping two points, as they allowed Santos' Jerome Ramatlhakwana to score a soft equaliser just two minutes after defender Lucas Thwala had broken their goal drought in the closing stages, as well as missing a first-half penalty.
Pirates started the game like a house on fire, with winger Dikgang Mabalane hitting the bar with a cross-cum-shot and Thulasizwe Mbuyane just unable to get on the end of the ball in the very first minute.
In the third minute, Gilbert Mushangazhike met a fine cross from Mabalane, but Francis Chansa didn't have to move to keep out the Zimbabwean striker's powerful header.
Teko Modise brought the best out of Chansa in the 16th minute with a stinging angled drive that was tipped over the bar by the DR Congo 'keeper. The resulting corner saw Santos defender Bongi Macala clear Mushangazhike’s shot off his own goal line.
In the 25th minute, Macala was harshly adjudged to have fouled Mbuyane as the midfielder tried to get on the end of a Mushangazhike pass and referee Peter Mabuza awarded a penalty.
Modise beat Chansa from the spot after a cheeky dummy but the referee disallowed the goal and cautioned the playmaker, ordering him to retake the penalty. Chansa guessed right the second time round and made a great save to frustrate the Pirates faithful.
Santos had rarely threatened in the first 45 minutes, but Pirates goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs was forced into one exceptional save in injury time at the end of the first half, palming away Erwin Isaacs' 25-metre screamer to keep the match level at 0-0 heading into the interval.
The Buccaneers started the second half much as they did the first, as Mbuyane set up Mabalane for a shot on goal but the right winger's effort hit the base of Chansa's right-hand post.
Just before the hour mark, the hosts again rattled the woodwork. This time Mushangazhike was the unfortunate player, as his stunning long range effort slammed into the top of Chansa's left-hand upright.
When Pirates hit the frame of the goal for the fourth time – Thwala's rising drive from a free kick – it seemed as if it was simply not their night and the long wait for their first league goal would go on to another game.
However, Thwala lifted a huge weight off the shoulders of coach Rudolf Krol and his side when he rose highest to meet a corner kick and emphatically head home the opening goal in the 84th minute.
But it wouldn't be a proper Pirates game unless they conspired to shoot themselves in the foot. They did just that in the 86th minute, inexplicably allowing a route one ball to fall at the feet of Ramatlhakwana, and the forward gleefully poked home an equaliser.