Bucs, Stars share the spoils

The visitors looked bright in the opening stages of the match, winning two corners in succession before earning an early free-kick, which didn’t bear fruit. Pirates soon found their rhythm, enjoying a neat passing game in the pouring rain in Johannesburg as they looked to pry open the Stars defence.

Marauding wing-back Thabo Matlaba almost did, rushing forward on the counter before letting fly, just narrowly wide of Mbongeni Mzimela’s goal.

Another swift counter saw Kermit Erasmus release Matlaba, who incorrectly opted for a tame shot instead of finding teammate Mpho Makola in space.

Yet on 34 minutes, the Bucs had their goal – with the ball bouncing around in the box following a throw-in, Ntsikelelo Nyauza flicked on for an un-marked Issa Sarr, who was allowed to slam the ball into the back of the net for Pirates’ first goal of 2016.

Siyabonga Mpontshane’s mis-clearance and foul late-on conceded a free-kick, although replays showed it was in fact in the box, as Pirates were lucky that the referee did not point to the spot as they headed into the tunnel with their one-goal advantage in tact.

A needless free-kick allowed Dikwena back in the game as Tintswalo Tshabalala swung in a ball for Ndumiso Mabena to head home against his former side to level matters for the visitors.

Desperate for a win to climb up the PSL standings, Pirates rallied as they looked to regain their lead, creating a number of chances yet lacking the final and decisive touch in front of goal, Erasmus doing his best from range with the wet conditions hampering the home side’s attacking play.

Time-wasting saw Stars captain Vuyo Mere receive his second yellow card as Pirates held a one man advantage for the last 15 minutes, but could not capitalise as both sides settled for a 1-1 draw.

The result leaves Pirates in 12th place with 12 points from 11 matches, while Dikwena remain fifth on 20 points, six adrift of joint leaders Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits.