Reports & Previews

Highlands Park and Orlando Pirates share the spoils

Orlando Pirates twice rallied from behind to secure a 2-2 draw with Highlands Park on Saturday evening, in a Premiership encounter at Makhulong Stadium.

After a goalless first half, the hosts broke the deadlock through Sphiwe Mahlangu before Thembinkosi Lorch levelled matters just one minute later. The hosts reclaimed the lead five minutes later through Peter Shalulile, only for substitute Kudakwashe Mahachi to restore parity in the 81st minute.

The first half was a closely contested affair, with neither side able to gain control of proceedings.

It started at a high tempo, with Pirates duo Augustine Mulenga and Musa Nyatama both failing to find the mark in the opening ten minutes of play.

However, the Lions of the North grew in confidence as the half wore on and very nearly broke the deadlock in the 17th minute. Tendai Ndoro shrugged off his marker at the back post before meeting an inswinging cross with a half-volley which was brilliantly kept out by Pirates keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane.

Mpontshane had to be on his toes again in the 34th minute as Sphiwe Mahlangu bore down on goal, only to fire straight at the Bucs gloveman.

And, Highlands Park were left cursing their luck later in the half as a goalmouth scramble resulted in the ball falling to Mlungisi Mbunjaba before he dragged his shot wide of the mark.

Pirates had one last chance to break the deadlock in the closing stages of the first half but Shonga's speculative effort flew over the bar.

It was a different story after the half-time interval, however, as the two sides scored two goals apiece in an action-packed half.

The match sprang to life on the hour mark after Highlands Park finally broke the deadlock, Mahlangu firing from a tight angle into the bottom corner.

Their lead was short-lived, however, as the Buccaneers hit back with a goal of their own from the restart, Lorch firing home from close range after the hosts failed to clear their lines.

Highlands Park were not done yet, though, as Shalulile popped up in the 66th minute to put them back in front.

Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic opted to introduce Mahachi in the 77th minute, and the Zimbabwean midfielder had an almost instant impact as he fired into the bottom corner from 12 yards out to level the scores.

But, despite having the momentum on their side, Pirates were unable to breach a tiring Lions of the North defence and had to settle for a share of the spoils.