Matlaba scores, but Pirates stutter at home

Matlaba scores, but Pirates stutter at home
Thabo Matlaba of Orlando Pirates challenged by Raymond Monama of Platinum Stars during the Absa Premiership 2017/18 football match between Orlando Pirates and Platinum Stars at FNB Stadium, Johannesburg on 18 October 2017 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

by Phumzile Ngcatshe

Wednesday Oct 18, 2017. 21:43

Despite scoring through skipper Thabo Matlaba, Orlando Pirates could not secure the full three points in the Absa Premiership as they drew 1-1 at the FNB Stadium against Platinum Stars on Wednesday night.

Coach Milutin Sredojevic's team has 13 points on the log table from eight matches and are now sitting at position number three.

For the struggling Dikwena, striker Bonginkosi Ntuli netted a brilliant goal to ensure they got something out of the tie.

Following a spirited start by the visiting side, Pirates tried to force an error on Stars in the first eight minutes and goalkeeper Dino Visser cleared the ball from Mpho Makola's path, whose attempt went straight to the keeper.

The Buccaneers regained the possession in the 14th minute and Thamsanqa Gabuza could not lower his well-struck effort right in the penalty area following a great cross from the left.

Both camps attacked towards the 20th minute and Dikwena's Enocent Mkhabela attempted to test Wayne Sandilands from a distance, but the midfielder’s effort sailed wide in the 19th minute.

As Visser became the busiest of the two keepers towards the end of the opening half, fellow debutant Katlego Otladisa saw his effort going wide of Sandilands' crossbar in injury time.

A minute into the second stanza, Matlaba took the matters into his own hands and beat his marker before rattling the roof of the net with a powerful left-footed shot.

Two minutes later, Ntuli made it 1-1 after shielding the ball from Abbubaker Mobara in the box from a through ball to slot it home beyond Sandiands.

Visser was called to produce a fine save to deny Qalinge from close range in the 52nd minute, with a finger-tip after a dangerous ball was whipped in from the right wing.

Before the hour mark, Milutin Sredojevic's men received a set piece on the edge of the box and Makola's curler hit the crossbar, with Visser beaten.

The Soweto giants looked threatening with 20 minutes to go as they probed for their second goal and Visser once again stood firm between the posts to deny Gabuza's powerful header from the near post.

The last 10 minutes saw Roger De Sa's charges showing some sense of urgency moving forward and Otladisa's attempt was saved by Sandilands on his left corner.

In the wake of the result, Stars remain rooted at the bottom of the table with three points from eight league games.

Orlando Pirates (0) 1 (Matlaba 46')
Platinum Stars (0) 1 (Ntuli 48')

Orlando Pirates: Sandilands, Mobara, Mtshali, Nyauza, Maela, Matlaba, Nyatama (Kutumela 46'), Qalinge (Foster 83'), Lorch (Shonga 62'), Makola, Gabuza

Platinum Stars: Visser, De Jongh, Mwedihanga, Sithole, Zulu, Mere, Mkhabela, Ng'ambi (Mwila 80'), Monama (Sesinyi 51'), Otladisa, Ntuli (Msomi 77')



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