Orlando Pirates draw 1-1 with Free State Stars
Posted: 17 April 2013 Time: 21:25
Orlando Pirates lost further ground on log leaders Kaizer Chiefs following a 1-1 draw with Free State Stars at Charles Mopeli Stadium on Wednesday night.
The home side had taken the lead through former Buccaneer Paulus Masehe, but Pirates levelled through a dubious penalty converted by Collins Mbesuma on 79 minutes.
It was a sixth successive draw for Pirates and leaves them six points behind Kaizer Chiefs with five games remaining.
Both sides found their rhythm relatively quickly, but a lack of incision in the final third meant clear scoring chances were hard to come by in the first half hour.
Stars saw midfielder Sihle Mpuqa head over from a corner-kick, while Pirates created a couple of half-chances for the likes of Takesure Chinyama and Onyekachi Okonkwo.
On the half-hour mark Bucs had the first clear opening, with Okonkwo’s lob over the defence sending Mpho Makola through on goal, but with only Kennedy Mweene to beat he pulled his shot wide.
On 32 minutes Ea Lla Koto punished some slack defending and broke the deadlock. Pirates dealt poorly with a corner kick and Paulus Masehe was left free to drive home a half-volley from a tight angle.
Stars should have gone into the break two goals up as Luyolo Nomandela had a great chance in injury-time, but a heavy touch when through on goal allowed Senzo Meyiwa to smother the ball.
Pirates started the second half brightly and Daine Klate threatened a couple of times; first curling a cross-cum-shot just off target, and then a few minutes later forcing Mweene into a good save.
Dove Wome then flashed a shot across the face of goal before Pirates were handed something of a gift when Mpuqa was harshly penalised for hand-ball in the box, allowing Mbesuma to convert from the spot.
On 83 minutes Mbesuma should have put Bucs ahead as he powered a header wide of the target from close range after a great cross by Makola, while Nomandela had a goal ruled out for offside when replays suggested it was legitimate.