Pirates’ hopes of returning to the summit of the Absa Premiership were dashed on Tuesday evening when they were held to a 1-1 draw
The Buccaneers looked to be on course for all three points and a return to pole position when Thabiso Kutumela scored late on, but Dikwena’s Thobani Kunene equalised in injury time to ensure the visitors deservedly claimed a share of the spoils.
Stars were the first to threaten a goal, with attacking midfielder Robert Ng’ambi latching onto a poor clearance from Issa Sarr and striking a shot from the ‘D’ of the box that flew just wide of the target in the 13th minute.
It took another 10 minutes before Pirates had their first real effort on goal, with Oupa Manyisa pulling the trigger from outside the box only to see his shot drift wide of Mbongeni Mzimela’s left-hand upright.
However, that chance signalled a change of momentum which saw Pirates go up a gear or two and begin to find their rhythm – though Stars did create perhaps the best chance of the first half on 34 minutes from which Ndumiso Mabena failed to test the goalkeeper.
Dikwena threatened again early in the second half, with Henrico Botes out-jumping Sarr to meet a long ball into the box only to see his header flash just wide of the mark.
Just before the hour mark the Buccaneers had their first shot on target, with Mpho Makola having an effort from the edge of the box which was palmed away by Mzimela, and a short while later the Stars ‘keeper produced another fine save to deny substitute Thabiso Kutumela.
The Rustenburg side were inches away from claiming the lead in the 70th minute when Mabena fired a shot from 25 metres which had the beating of Benson Mhlongo but rebounded back into play after rattling the woodwork.
Seven minutes later the visitors were made to pay for their missed chances, with Kutumela netting his first goal in Pirates colours to break the deadlock. The substitute earned a free kick on the edge of the box and proceeded to score directly from the set piece, stroking a low shot into the bottom corner.
If Pirates thought they were going to hold out for another victory, they were sorely mistaken: in the opening seconds of injury time, Dikwena forced an equaliser when substitute Thobani Kunene got on the end of a corner kick and scored with a perfectly placed header which went into the net via the underside of the crossbar.
Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Kutumela 77’)
Platinum Stars (0) 1 (Kunene 90+1’)
Pirates: Mhlongo, Sikhakhane (Makudubela 66’), Jele, Chabalala, Matlaba, Makola, Mobara (Gyimah 84’), Sarr, Morrison (Kutumela 55’), Manyisa, Ndoro
Stars: Mzimela, Zulu, Mlilo, Nhlapo, Mnguni, Mathe, De Jongh (Msomi 72’), Mabena, Ng’ambi, Mere (Kunene 89’), Botes (Shilongo 83’)
By Matthews Moraba