Soweto derby delivers the goods despite slippery pitch

Ben Motshwari scored late to give Orlando Pirates the lead but Kamohelo Mahlatsi cancelled out his goal with the equaliser in the final seconds of the match at a wet Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Ben Motshwari scored late to give Orlando Pirates the lead but Kamohelo Mahlatsi cancelled out his goal with the equaliser in the final seconds of the match at a wet Orlando Stadium in Soweto.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The Soweto derby match between Orlando Pirates and Swallows was worth the six-year wait as it brought a lot of excitement and drama at the Orlando Stadium yesterday.

Billed as the "original Soweto derby, the DStv Premiership match ended in a 1-1 draw and despite the stalemate it was never a dull affair.

Despite the slippery pitch because of the showers in Soweto, the match was edge-of-the-seat stuff until the final whistle.  

Ben Motshwari thought he had won the match for Bucs with a well-taken goal five minutes from time. But Swallows' never-say-die attitude forced a share of the spoils. Kamohelo Mahlatsi snatched a point from the jaws of defeat for Swallows three minutes into stoppage time. 

Swallows were the happier of the two teams with a point as they stretched their unbeaten run to 10 matches. Bucs registered their fifth draw in their league campaign, and the rate at which they are dropping points is starting to be a cause for concern. They have now drawn three matches at home.

Swallows retained second place on the log table, two points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns. Bucs are sixth place with 14 points from nine games, 10 points adrift of Sundowns.

The two teams last traded blows in the 2014/15 season and were able to renew their rivalry after the Birds' promotion to the top flight this season. The Birds have been flying high, having collected three points against free-scoring Cape Town City at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto after an entertaining 3-2 victory.

Swallows defender Thabo Matlaba got substituted by Sifiso Hlanti in the first quarter of the game due to a hamstring injury. Swallows created the better of the early goalscoring opportunities, forcing Bucs goalie Wayne Sandilands to make three saves in the first half. 

Pirates next face a tricky trip to Tshakhuma on Wednesday, while Swallows' next match is also away in Limpopo to unpredictable Baroka on Saturday.

Elsewhere yesterday, Bloemfontein Celtic and AmaZulu also played to a 1-1 draw at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium. Mzwanele Mahashe scored for the hosts, while Augustine Mulenga equalised for Usuthu. 

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