Vincent Pule of Orlando Pirates. Picture: SYDNEY MAHLANGU/BACKPAGEPIX
Vincent Pule of Orlando Pirates. Picture: SYDNEY MAHLANGU/BACKPAGEPIX

Orlando Pirates were the better side over the 90 minutes, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw in their Premier Soccer League match  against SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville on Wednesday

Pirates were the stronger team in the first half with Vincent Pule putting them into the lead in the  10th minute. United discovered their legs in attack just before the hour mark, piling on pressure that resulted in Ben Motshwari turning the ball into his own net in the  66th-minute.

Overall, Pirates enjoyed the longer periods of ascendancy and balance of chances. SuperSport played at their best for a 20-minute period in the middle of the second half, and were able to make that count.

United coach Kaitano Tembo, after his team were fortunate to come away with a 1-1 draw against Kaizer Chiefs last Wednesday, shook things up with four changes, and a switch from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 system.

Defenders Luke Fleurs and Grant Kekana, and attackers Kudakwashe Mahachi and Thamsanqa Gabuza came in for Bongani Khumalo, Keenan Phillips, Jamie Webber and Evans Rusike.

Having fielded a fringe combination in Pirates 1-0 Caf Confederation Cup win against Jwaneng Galaxy on Sunday, Bucs coach Josef Zinnbauer made nine changes, bringing back his frontline weaponry.

Pirates’ returning artillery had greater structure and purposefulness in the opening half as SuperSport retained their waywardness in shape and defending they had displayed against Chiefs.

Bucs took the lead with a goal that started and ended with Pule. The striker lost the ball then regained possessioin on the halfway line before passing to Fortune Makaringe. The midfielder chipped up-field to Deon Hotto on the left, who teed up Pule to shoot past Ronwen Williams in the United goal.

SuperSport were perhaps unfortunate when Kekana’s cross hit  the arm of Happy Jele, with referee Victor Gomes turning down the penalty appeal.

Before the half-hour mark Thembinkosi Lorch limped off with what seemed a groin injury to be replaced by teen Azola Tshobeni.

Pirates continued to boss proceedings early in the second half as  Hotto controlled a cross and teed up Pule to blast high, then Motshwari and Makaringe struck shots from range at Williams.

Motshwari lost the ball in midfield to allow SuperSport a more promising attack, Bradley Grobler advancing down the middle and laying off for substitute Guily Manziba on the right, with Thulani Hlatshwayo crucially blocking.

As the home team found their pace going forward, another substitute, Teboho Mokoena, produced United’s first shot on target from a free-kick, held easily enough by Richard Ofori.

The movement and pressure of the team in blue paid dividends when Manziba’s cross fell to Ghampani Lungu free on the left, whose low strike was skewed into his own goal by the leg of Motshwari.

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