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Reports & Previews

Pirates held by Baroka in Orlando

Orlando Pirates showed character to battle back from 1-0 behind yet could only pick up a 1-1 draw against a defensively resolute Baroka in Tuesday's Premiership clash at Orlando Stadium.

Pirates started brightly on home soil and perhaps should have taken the lead in the opening minutes.

The ever lively Augustine Mulenga broke clear down the left-hand side before his pull-back found Justin Shonga just alongside the penalty spot.

After an exquisite first touch, the Zambia striker half-volleyed just wide when anything on target seemed almost certain to be a goal.

Bakgaga were defending in numbers and it always appeared Bucs were more likely to hit the front. Yet, the script went out of the window in the 13th minute as Matome Mabeba scored arguably a Goal-of-the-Season contender.

Mabeba struck home a scorching curling left-footed free-kick from around 30-yards which flew beyond a helpless Jackson Mabokgwane and into the back of the net.

Pirates lacked much incisiveness for the remainder of the half though Mulenga did fire a shot over the bar. It seemed the Sea Robbers were showing signs of fatigue following a hectic match schedule in recent times.

In the second stanza, Baroka kept things extremely tight at the back and Pirates struggled to create any real clear openings.

However, just before the hour mark Shonga did brilliantly to pull a ball out of the air from broken play, before he volleyed inches over the bar as Elvis Chipezeze looked on helplessly.

The hosts threw on Thamsanqa Gabuza in the second 45 minutes as they searched desperately for a leveler.

In the final 10 minutes Milutin Sredojevic's men were throwing the kitchen sink yet there seemed to be no way through the wall of green shirts.

With that said, Pirates showed incredible character to manage an equaliser from the head of Vincent Pule.

The in-form forward was sharp on the six-yard box as he got ahead of his marker before heading home a cross from the right in the 83rd minute.

The action was frenetic in the closing minutes though Gabuza could have snatched all three points at the death as his header went half-a-yard wide with Chipezeze beaten.