Friday May 27, 2022. 22:03
Royal AM and Orlando Pirates shared the spoils at the Chatsworth Stadium in the DStv Premiership on Friday night, with the 2-2 result meaning no CAF Champions League qualification for both sides.
The visitors got off to a flyer and opened the scoring in the second minute of the game, as Deon Hotto latched onto an accurate cross from Thembinkosi Lorch with a well-timed half-volley.
Pirates continued to apply the pressure and doubled their advantage just four minutes later with Lorch’s delivery from the right hand side proving to be a problem for Royal AM. This time, Kwame Peprah got his name on the scoresheet with a looping header inside the penalty area.
As the 15th minute approached, Royal AM began seeing more of the ball and managed to string fluid passes together. However, the home side struggled to infiltrate the Pirates defence.
The home side refused to throw in the towel as they continued to assert themselves on the ball, even penning the Soweto giants back on the edge of their area for large parts of the first half. As the referee closed proceedings in the first 45, Pirates looked to manage the closure of the half while Royal AM showed their attacking intent.
Royal AM began the second-half just as they ended the first and immediately took possession of the ball. Pirates soaked up the pressure and were reduced to hitting the hosts on the break but were unable to make the most of their chances.
Richard Ofori was summoned into action on a couple of occasions as the hour mark approached while Royal upped the tempo in search of a goal.
In search of attacking variations, Royal AM introduced Elias Pelembe, Sedwyn George and Menzi Masuku in the 67th minute of the match. Former Pirates star, Thabo Matlaba, pulled one back for Royal AM in the 78th minute courtesy of a swerving long range effort. With their tails up, coach John Maduka’s side remained on the front foot.
In looking to tighten their defence, Pirates introduced Happy Jele and Wayde Jooste with 10 minutes to go, however, the reinforcements did not deter Royal AM’s attacking intent.
The Chatsworth Stadium erupted with celebrations in the 92nd minute when Royal AM levelled matters thanks to a well-taken volley from Mfundo Thikazi. The game ended in a 2-2 draw as Royal AM concluded their debut season in the DStv Premiership.
For Pirates, they will now travel to the Lucas Masterpieces Moripe Stadium on Monday for their final league match of the season, where they will face SuperSport United in search of a CAF Confederations Cup spot.
Royal AM: (0)2
Orlando Pirates: (2) 2
Royal AM: Heugh, Dlamini, Manganyi, Monamodi, Mogaila, Mahlasela (Masuku 67’), Ncobeni (Mashikinya 78’), Matlaba, Mabena (Pelembe 67’), Machupu, Potsane (George 67’)
Pirates: Ofori, Nyauza, Ndah, Shandu (Jele 81’), Maela, Motshwari, Mosele, Dlamini (Makaringe 60’), Lorch (Jooste 81’), Hotto (Mabaso 72’), Peprah (Dzvukamanja 72’)