Orlando Pirates 1-1 Baroka FC: Issa Sarr saves Bucs' blushes

The lanky midfielder, who is a key player for the Soweto giants, is eager to return to the Caf Confederation Cup with Buccaneers

Orlando Pirates and Baroka FC drew 1-1 in a Premier Soccer League (PSL) match which was played at the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg on Wednesday night.

The draw sees the Buccaneers remain ninth on the league standings, while Bakgaga move up to the 15th spot on the table.

Bucs head coach Kjell Jonevret was forced to make one change to the starting line-up that faced Bloemfontein Celtic in the Nedbank Cup quarter-final encounter at home last weekend.

Gladwin Shitolo made his second start for Pirates - replacing fellow defender-come-midfielder Abbubaker Mobara in the central midfield. The latter was serving a suspension.

Jonevret's counterparts, Milton Dlamini and Kgokolo Thobejane, who are Bakgaga co-coaches fielded a strong starting-up with Pirates loanee Marshall Munetsi starting in the midfield.

The Buccaneers saw a lot of the ball in the early stages of the encounter, but they were struggling to penetrate the Bakgaga defence and test shot-stopper Oscarine Masuluke in the goalposts.

Bakgaga defence which was marshaled and led by Olaleng Dineo Shaku made sure they got behind the ball every time they lost possession and get their defensive shape.

The central defender was forced to make a world class defensive block in the 26th minute denying Pirates centre forward Tendai Ndoro from six-yards out as the home side pressed the visitors.

Ndoro's teammate Thabo Matlaba was forced to try his luck from range a few later and his attempt went past the top corner as the Bakgaga defence continued to frustrate the Buccaneers.

Bakgaga grew in confidence towards the half-time break with Jose Garcia's long range narrowly missing the target, before Pirates survived a scare following keeper Siyabonga Mpontshane's poor clearance and the visitors failed to punish him.

The score was 0-0 at the interval following a relatively quiet first half with Baroka happy to sit back and launch quick counter attacks against Pirates, who lacked creativity upfront.

As a result Swedish tactician Jonevret made a double substitution during the break. Ndoro and Mpho Makola were replaced by Thamsanqa Gabuza and Thabo Qalinge respectively.

However, it was the visitors, who threatened first in the second half with Shaku forcing Mpontshane into a fine save following a good move by Bakgaga a few minutes after the restart.

The Buccaneers controlled the tempo of the match and Gabuza had a great chance to fire his side into the lead after the hour-mark, but Masuluke made a point-blank save to deny the forward.

Bakgaga were also looking dangerous on the counter and they took the lead in the 77th minute when Sindo Letsoalo's shot from range bounced off Mpontshane and into the back of the net to make it 1-0 to Baroka.

The long-range goal stunned the home side and Jonevret's charges had to restore parity and possibly grab the winning goal in the remaining 13 minutes of the encounter.

Bucs did push forward in numbers, while playing long balls into the Baroka box and their tactic worked as Issa Sarr scored with a powerful header in stoppage-time to make it 1-1.


The lanky Senegalese anchorman's late goal was able to rescue a point for Pirates, who drew 1-1 with a stubborn Baroka side on the night. 

 

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