The Soweto derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon ended in a 1-1 draw, with Willard Katsande’s opening goal cancelled out by an equaliser from Thamsanqa Gabuza.
The result is one neither team will be satisfied with in the overall picture of the Absa Premiership, with the Amakhosi set to fall even further off the pace of the league leaders while the Buccaneers remain stuck in the lower half of the log.
The game came to life just past the 20 minute mark when Chiefs nearly opened the scoring, with Camaldine Abraw heading wide of the far post after getting on the end of a cross from the right flank by Siphiwe Tshabalala.
On 25 minutes Pirates thought they had opened the scoring when Edwin Gyimah headed home a free kick from Thabo Qalinge, but the referee controversially ruled it out as the latter player had sent in his cross before the whistle blew.
Three minutes later the Amakhosi broke the deadlock. A Tshabalala corner kick was knocked down to the far post by the head of Erick Mathoho, allowing Willard Katsande to control the ball before beating goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo with a low shot.
Chiefs created the better opportunities in the remainder of the first half, but William Twala and Abraw were both unable to find the back of the net, leaving the match 1-0 in favour of the team in gold and black at the interval.
Pirates threatened an equaliser early in the second half, with Itumeleng Khune called upon to make an excellent finger-tip save to keep out a long-range drive from Thandani Ntshumayelo, while the Chiefs goalkeeper also came under pressure at a number of corner kicks and free kicks.
Bucs coach Eric Tinkler made two changes past the hour mark, sending on Mpho Makola and Sifiso Myeni to try and give his team more creativity and penetration, and there was a sense that something would give eventually.
On 69 minutes the team in black restored parity, with a long throw-in from Ayanda Gcaba glanced just inside the far post by Thamsanqa Gabuza to make it 1-1. The goal was a double for Chiefs, as Khune twisted his ankle at the same time and had to be replaced by Reyaad Pieterse.
The remainder of the game saw the teams exchange little more than half chances and it was no surprise to see the teams level when the final whistle blew.