ORLANDO Pirates coach Ruud Krol was right when he said his charges blew their chances of a remarkable recovery at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
Krol was lamenting his side's inability to kill off Moroka Swallows after a dramatic comeback earned them a 2-2 draw in the original Soweto derby. "This is frustrating," admitted Krol after the match. "We created far too many scoring chances but failed to convert them into goals. It was, however, good to see the fighting spirit displayed by the team."
Pirates were staring defeat in the face after Swallows had raced to a 2-0 lead by the 57th minute.
By then, Pirates had blown numerous scoring opportunities through Katlego Mashego, Gert Schalkwyk, Lucky Lekgwathi, Thulasizwe Mbuyane and Andile Jali.
Credit should go to Swallows' goalie Greg Etafia, who made several brilliant saves to deny Pirates all three points.
Despite the stalemate, Jali is still hopeful of a return to winning ways.
"I believe we are still among the top teams in the league and (we're still) challenging for the title. Now that the second round is on, we have to move into top gear. The league is a marathon and anything can still happen in the next weeks," he said.
Swallows coach Rainer Zobel, who believes the league race is still wide open, said: "I thought we played well but were unlucky not to pocket maximum points. But I'm happy with the point."
Swallows were the first to draw blood in the third minute when Shaun Haschick rattled the net after a defensive error by Jali. The evergreen Haschick completed his brace in the 54th minute with a curling shot.
Pirates pulled one back in through Phenyo Mongala three minutes later. Rooi Mahamutsa scored the equaliser four minutes from time to the relief of The Ghost who were convinced the Birds were flying away with the three points.